J.J. asks from Kearney, NE on March 30, 2010
Preschool - Holdrege,NE
Hey everyone! We have come up against another obstacle for our son. He is going to be going to preschool and we had him signed up for one but we found out some things that we don't approve of. For example a lot of times there isn't a certified teacher there and the paraeducators do it, when the teacher is there she just sits at her desk and works on the computer and lets the paras do it, also they really don't have any structure - there are kids all over - just mainly let them play and that's it. We want a preschool that is going to somewhat prepare our son for Kindergarten and we feel that this one will not do that. Now comes the dilemma there is another preschool that we would love to have our son go to but the draw back is that it costs a $105 a month and then we have daycare on top of that because it is only two mornings a week. We can't afford it and I have tried seeing if they offer scholarship and they don't and I have tried local churches and none will help. So I was wondering if there something out there that would help us pay for him to attend this preschool. I would appreciate any ideas!
mom to Derek 3 with Cystic Fibrosis
So What Happened?™
I just wanted to add that the preschool that our son is signed up for has a lot of children with varying degrees of austism, behavorial disorders, and other medical conditions. The paraeducators do not have any early child education or training except for being in this preschool and they let the kids just play with toys and maybe will read them a book once in a while. This preschool does also charge $105 a month to attend unless the child has an IEP. Our son does have an IEP so he could attend for free due to his Cystic Fibrosis. As for going in and observing this preschool, I have as I am a paraeducator and have had to work in this preschool a few times. The place where our son goes to daycare is the place where we want him to go to preschool.
J.C. answers from Anchorage on March 30, 2010
Have you checked into your local Head Start? They usually charge on a sliding scale based on income, and can provide all day care as well as pre-school.
D.A. answers from Los Angeles on March 30, 2010
Maybe you should go in and check it out for yourself. The main thing you have to keep in mind is that preschoolers learn by playing, so a good preschool will let the children play most of the day. The thing you have to look out for is how it is structured. The kids should not be running wild. The teacher should not be sitting at her desk doing other things. She should be engaging the children, asking them about what they are doing, and getting them to think about what they are learning. The playing part is good, kids at this age should not be a classroom type setting where they sit at a desk all day, they are not develomentally ready for that yet. Make sure there is also music time, story time, art time, and science. All these things may seem like play when you are observing, but this is the way a 3 & 4 year old is going to learn about science, math, colors, alphabet and all the other things that will make them ready for kindergarten.
D.W. answers from Indianapolis on March 30, 2010
Is it possible that you can select a day care that also functions as a preschool?
Both of our kids (2 and 3.5) are in full-time day care. It's a state licensed facility, and it has a standard curriculum that is followed (with age appropriate variations) for all classes.
A few weeks ago, it was Dr. Suess in celebration of his 100th birthday. This week it's Peter Rabbit.
At 3.5, our son is on the verge of being able to spell simple words, knows and can write all his letters and is learning to tell time. Our daughter is one of the younger kids in her class - she knows all her colors, shapes, and is starting to work on counting/recognizing letters.
We didn't select this facility because of its educational component - we wanted a safe, nurturing environment, but this has been such an added bonus. Unfortunately, the cost of having both kids in day care (this is not a fancy facility by any means) was close to $20K last year. I do know they have discounted rates for families that are not able to pay their standard tuition rates.
L.R. answers from Jackson on March 30, 2010
I also say check with Head Start I have my grandson going there and they are the greatest. They feed them good food and give the children whatever they need as all of them are different. I spend at least 3 hours a week and sometime 10 and my grandson loves it. I also know all the kids in the class and they love me to come play with them.
If I had to do it over again I would do the exact same thing it is a wonderful program but you need to get signed up early because they only have so many spots and they go fast around here.
I.M. answers from New York on March 30, 2010
why don't you give it a try with the first one you talked about. Volunteer to go in if you can and see how they work things out. Let me tell you, the paraeducator might even be better than the teacher, they do this because they want to become teachers if I'm not wrong. They bring new ideas that the "old" teacher may not have, etc. Jut go in and see if you can volunteer to read to them, or anything else they need. Remember that no matter how good a school or teacher is you can't always rely on them, a lot of what they are going to teach them in pre-k comes from home first. You can certainly spend some time with him playing color, letter and even number games, which is some of what they will do in pre-k. Shapes will be good, and you can do this at home while you're cooking or cleaning. Just show him the boxes and cans, etc.
If I was you I would be more concern with kinder, but still would not rely on them 100%.
Always try to get involved in school, weather it be pre-k or highschool. You'll always get more respect from the teachers and principal if they see you are involved.
T.S. answers from San Francisco on March 30, 2010
What matters most is that the teachers/assistants have some early childhood education and that they are activiely engaging with the children most of the time, regardless of whether they are certified or not. It is common knowlege among all early childhood educators that kids this age learn best through play. The key is that the play is interesting, varied and stimulating. For example, playing with unit blocks is an early way to be exposed to spatial/mathmatic skills. Cutting and pasting strengthens fine motor skills which prepares young children for handwriting. Participating in circle time and working on puzzles develops attention span. I could go on and on.
As far as being prepared for kindergarten, what children need to learn in preschool is how to share, take turns, follow simple directions, etc. They can and probably will get exposed to basic school subjects like numbers, letters, shapes, etc. but kindergarten is where they really begin to put letters together and understand basic math concepts. Try the program your signed up for, talk to the teachers and spend a little time in the classroom before you decide against it. Your son may love it there!
M.T. answers from New York on March 30, 2010
I don't think you'll get financial assistance for preschool, it's not required and not required that you get your son into a specific, more expensive one. Can daycare and preschool be combined? Many daycare centers do offer curriculum based care for the kids who will be entering kindy the next year. Also, call your local elementary school and ask what preschools they know of that work with the district to prepare the children for kindergarten. good luck!