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Leaving & Changing Preschools
I have a 3-yr-old son who's been going to a local co-op preschool for 1 year. We're going to continue that school 2 days/wk for 4/hrs/day. And, we're thinking of introducing another pre-school (Spanish-speaking only) for three full- days per week (he's been speaking Spanish & English since he was a baby). The three days will be all together (T,W,Th).
Is this a good or bad idea to have him in 2 pre-schools? We're not worried about consistent school pedagogy or anything like that; I'm most concerned about his emotional well being. I know that the nap-times will be different (an hour variance) each day but am not too concerned (should I be?).
Have other parents done this? We would likely have the option of going 4 full days at the new school but I kind of wanted to continue with the moms/kids at the former school for the community/consistency.
Your thoughts? I'd especially like to hear from parents whose kids have done something like this. Thanks, Curious
Help--8 months ago we signed up our daughter, now 3 1/2, for a
preschool program that is run by our son's private school in
Oakland (he is in second grade there). We started her there in
January, because it was, obviously, convenient, and because from
our brief observations, it appeared to be a play-based
preschool. (Our son had attended a different preschool which
had an excellent, play-based, Reggio Emilia curriculum but that
school was not an option for our daughter for a number of
reasons). Anyway, we were wrong. Since January it has become
very clear that the school is not what I would call play-based
at all--they have a very structured day that is broken down into
between 8 and a dozen activities, including at least one circle
time (at 9 a.m), and others which are teacher-centered. The
kids have very little free play time, and I have walked into the
class on more than one occasion to hear the teacher giving some
of the kids warnings (they get ''time outs'' after that) to put
their toys down because they have to move on to the next
scheduled activity!!! I am devastated. For many reasons, this
being one of them, we are leaving the school at the end of the
summer, but we wonder if we should pull our 3 year old out
sooner. The big problem is that this is a year-round school and
we had to put down 3-month tuition deposits for each of our two
children and the school's policy is that we must use these
deposits for the summer months--cannot get a refund or use it
earlier. We are so frustrated and very surprised, as it is
clear that we did not do our homework on this preschool. We
took it largely on face value that a school that calls
itself ''developmental'' would be play-based. Should we tough it
out? Our daughter does not seem miserable there but not happy
either, and tells me that she only gets to play with her friends
when the class is outside.
Mom Who Didn't Do Homework
You may have already tried to talk to people at the school, but you don't mention it. It worked for me. In your case, I wonder if this teacher has strayed outside the school's developmental philosophy. I can't imagine a developmental program for 3 year olds not including a LOT of free and child-directed play. It it possible they don't yet recognize they have a problem? In my situation I fell totally in love with an expensive pre- school that felt so right we enrolled, paid a big deposit, and then I started seeing things that worried me. We considered leaving because it seemed very serious to me and talking to the teacher and even head teacher didn't seem to help (I got explanations and excuses). Then I decided to see what more I could do so I went to the director of the school. I kept calm, non-positional, and explained my concerns in concrete terms like where you mentioned. The equivalent would be something like ''I've noticed the kids' schedule seems very full and is kept to tightly. My daughter is complaining she doesn't to just play much except when outside.'' Or ''I've noticed a lot of time- outs''. I'd definately be asking a LOT of questions. How much time is self-selected, kid-centered, and free and how much is teacher-centered and structured? How do you help kids (especially at this age!) transition from one activity to another. What are the rules for time-outs? How often are kids in time-out? What do YOU think is developmentally appropriate for 3 year olds? etc...
Well, I'm pleased to say that it absolutely worked for me. It turned out that the director agreed my issue was a real problem, answered my questions to my satisfaction, did not know it was happening, and promptly fixed it. We're still there and are very happy.
Whatever you do, I hope it works out for you and your daughter. Good luck. anon
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