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Find me a preschool!

April 5, 2013 - Kristy MacKaben
I'm sure most of you have already registered your 3 or 4 year olds for preschool next year. Not me. I'm driving myself crazy with this darn preschool search for Johnny. There are so many preschool options here that my terrible indecisiveness is causing me major anxiety. What if I don't choose the right one? What if the teachers aren't nice? What if they're too nice? What if he falls behind? What if he's bored? What if he doesn't learn? I didn't stress over this with Julie at all because of her birthday. Sept. 25 is the absolute best birthday when it comes to registering your children for kindergarten. It's too young in most districts to make the cutoff. In Altoona Julie actually made the cutoff of Sept. 30, but we held her back that year because she would be the absolute youngest, but almost every parent would red-shirt a child with that birthday. Julie's late birthday meant three years of preschool. Her final year of preschool was spent at the Hollidaysburg Area YMCA's program for children with late birthdays. The teacher Mrs. Ickes was absolutely amazing. I credit Mrs. Ickes with really helping Julie excel in kindergarten and first grade. With Julie I really didn't have many worries once kindergarten rolled around. With Johnny I'm stressing. He's a super smart, capable, social, friendly and active little guy. But, he's my BABY! His birthday is April 19. There's no red-shirting Johnny. Though I'm tempted to do so, that's pretty much ridiculous, considering his birthday. Since we are sending him on time, he will have only one more year of preschool, and I'm stressing about that one year. It will be so crucial. This first year of preschool has been great for Johnny. The teachers were loving and the program provided exactly what he needed to get oriented to school. Don't you think next year will be the real deal? Isn't that when he'll figure it all out before kindergarten? I have visited five preschools and have yet to make a decision. Maybe I have unrealistic expectations, but I just want my little boy to be given the opportunity to achieve his potential. One of the preschools I visited came highly recommended by a friend. But, when I questioned the director about the school's reading program, she looked at me confused and replied "We don't focus on reading. That's a kindergarten skill. If they learn to read before kindergarten, they'll be bored. That's when behavior problems start." Huh?? Really? So, you don't teach kids beginning reading skills because they might become behavior problems in kindergarten? Does that seem backward to just me? I'm not claiming my kid is going to be a superstar or that he'll definitely be reading before elementary school, but what harm is there in trying? I also understand the idea behind not pushing kids too hard, but I think there can be a balance. I also believe teachers have the keys to instill excitement in kids about learning. So...my search continues. I'll let you know when I find the right one.

 
 

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