Finding a Preschool: Our Story
This year we will be saying good-bye to the wonderful preschool that M and M both attended. (There are still a couple of months, so no tears yet!) Last year I wrote a series on finding a preschool. Although we are now past that stage I know that many of you will be looking for a quality preschool to send your little ones to in the fall. I thought I would update the Finding a Preschool Series a little bit and share them again.
Finding the right preschool for your family and your little one can be challenging, but in the long run you will be so glad that your little one is in a quality preschool! So treat this decision accordingly.
Our Preschool Story
My sister and I joined forces when we started our preschool search. Big M and Cousin S would start at the same time and go to school together. Both of us have experience working in a childcare center and a home family childcare… we were excited to start combing through preschools. We were quickly snapped into reality when we realized it was going to be harder than we thought. There appeared to be a shortage of preschools (or quality ones anyway). YIKES!
We continued to follow the steps we knew would get us to exactly the place we were looking for… and I am so glad we were patient. What we found was the perfect place for our kids to begin their school journey.
Our family’s “special circumstance” was Big M and his (ummm) active personality. He’s a mover and has been since he was born. I was specifically looking at how the school handled discipline. For me, the teachers had to be firm and kind. Big M needed boundaries and freedom. I wanted what I have always wanted for him. A place where he was safe to be himself… a place he wouldn’t feel “bad” for being impulsive and active.
The school we found was the right place. The teachers and I worked together on some behavior issues throughout the year, but they always had the most wonderful stories of their days with him. They were firm with boundaries… and celebrated him everyday.
At the graduation ceremony the teacher said a little something about every child. I realized that day what a beautiful gift this school was to our kids…
“Michael (you know Big M) is kind and quick, smart and quick, funny and quick. Having Michael in class can be like trying to catch a humming bird. Sometimes the things we admire most in adults are the things we try to harness in children… with Michael I think the best thing to do is hold on and enjoy the ride.”
I won’t go too far into my sister’s story… it is her story after all. I will say that her needs were far different than ours. Cousin S is reserved, cautious and brilliant. They needed a place that would build her confidence in a group and allow her to shine (quietly).
Both of our kids were challenged, loved and nurtured. A quality school can and will support both types of children with ease.
Ready to start looking for your perfect quality preschool?
Part 1 Finding Preschool Phone Numbers
Part 2 Calling Around (what to ask)
Part 3 The Visit (what to look for)
Thank you for this! My son is EXACTLY as you describe your Big M and to read your words brought tears to my eyes…..finding a preschool for a child like this is HARD!
This is a great testimonial and a helpful series. I would love to add it as a resource in this recent post I did on Preschool Prep — http://jennifischer.blogspot.com/2013/05/kids-co-op-fun-summer-learning.html.
Also, I would love to know your thoughts/tips for mothers, like me, who (because of finances) do not have the option of choosing. My oldest son, who will start PreK in August, sounds a lot like your son, and I am hoping that the Volunteers of America Preschool that we qualify for works well for him. I am prepared, though, to do learning at home instead if we need to, but he loves being with other kids, so I am really hoping for the best.
Having no choice does make it more difficult, but knowing that you are prepared to teach him at home will make it easier not to settle. Hopefully you option will be perfect for you and it won’t be an issue BUT if it is there are other ways of paying for preschool.
I heard of one woman who collected cans to pay for preschool, there are preschool coops in our area where the parents take turns being the “teacher” (maybe you could find something like that in your area). Also if you find a preschool you like, it’s possible you could barter for tuition. Trading your time and energy on things they can’t afford to pay out (like making them a website, or spring cleaning the facility) might be worth having one child who doesn’t pay.
Good luck and yes you can use this in you post 😉
The comment by your son’s teacher has me crying right now. Just wonderful. What a fantastic foundation for his elementary school years.
It always has me crying!! We have been very lucky so far. 🙂