I'm back and it's more preschool talk. You may have thought I talked it all out in my earlier post, but no. When you get to know me, you'll find I talk a lot. In fact, after a first few dates with me, apparently my husband (boyfriend back then), told his friend he wasn't so sure about this Heather gal, "she talks a lot." Luckily, his friend responded with wisdom, and told Josh that he also talked a lot.
I wanted to let you know we made a decision on preschools. Hallelujah, a decision. No more going in circles with indecision and uncertainty. Isn't there such relief in decisions sometimes?
Some of my friends have asked me why and how we made our decision. First, let me share our decision. We decided to enroll at First Presbyterian Preschool (FPP). Frankly, all the schools I looked at in person were great. I don't think you can really go too wrong with preschool. But here are some of the considerations we put into our decision:
Time & Involvement -
We went the traditional route over co-op. I can see the value and benefit of each, but for our family traditional seemed best. From a time-commitment standpoint, we felt co-ops would be very time-consuming for a parent. Being involved is totally great, yes, but we wanted something that would allow me to get some time off. I can use the time to write for this blog, get groceries, clean, or just take a nap (ha, a nap, that's never gonna happen). Moms need downtime and I think this will be a great opportunity for me.
One of my worries about traditional schools was not being as involved and knowing what was going on with my son at school. With a co-op, you're there (and I hear sometimes moms stay every time) and can see with your own eyes how your child interacts, etc. I want to be involved in his education and know the areas where he needs help. However, I felt assured with FPP that we would have meetings and communication with the teacher about our son's progress. There is also cute events during the holidays and at the end of the year for families to interact.
Independence & Structure -
With me not being present at school with my son, we hope to help him gain independence and individually. It will also help set the stage for how school will be later in his life. Kindergarten isn't all that far away, and it's all day and all week with the kids on their own. This is just a stepping stone to help him feel confident in being there by himself when that day arrives (I hope).
Traditional seemed more structured as well. We feel our child will thrive with some structure. It still involves playing-to-learn, but we felt there was more guidance in that play. For instance, let's paint, rather than you can paint, play trains, or read a book.
Friend Recommendation -
For me, some of the best decisions come from going with what a friend recommends. There is a reason you are friends, right? Probably because you have something in common and feel the friend is trustworthy and nice. Totally! First Presbyterian came recommended from a friend, but I also heard other moms that I know talk about it positively.
Best of the South Sound -
This isn't a huge factor, but the fact that it was listed as "Best Private Elementary School + Best Preschool," in 2017 Best of the South Sound (and 2014 and 2016) certainly helped.
Staff Communication & Organization -
The communication from the school was fantastic. I called to find out more and get a tour, and they had me lined up to visit the next day. My email was responded to quickly, and I felt it was very polished. With my marketing background, I appreciated the folder with handouts and the website was well done. If they can do this right, then maybe they know what they're doing, huh?
The Teacher -
The teacher we meet during the tour was nice, and better yet, has been doing this for something like 20 years. You could tell she knows how to work with children and cares about them. A teacher is pivotal in learning!
I liked that it was play-to-learn since we can't expect a two and a half-year-old to sit and listen to a lesson. Also, they mentioned doing the ABC's and colors. These were some of the things I was hoping would be taught, and I liked how they didn't make it feel pressured. The teacher said there wasn't anything wrong if they didn't learn the ABC's, but they do teach them.
We are a Christian family and want to raise our son with these values. We won't force religion upon him, but as he's growing up hope to share what it means to be Christian with him and provide a loving and supportive community.
The cost of co-ops are cheaper, but once we considered time as a cost, we felt the cost of traditional wasn't all that more expensive. Sure, it does cost more, but we feel it will be worth it.
So there you have it. These are what we considered in our decision. I don't think you can really go too wrong with the opinions we had lined up. And if it doesn't work out, we can always switch next year.
What did you consider when choosing a preschool? Where are you going?
Please note: I was not asked or paid to write these reviews. These were just my own opinions.