Clueless About Preschool!!!

Updated on May 29, 2009
V.S. asks from Hammond, IN
4 answers

My daughter will be 3 in July and we're looking to send her to preschool for 2 or 3 days a week. This is our first child and we don't know where to start! I've also just realized I'm starting my search late in order for her to begin in the fall. Now I'm afraid I won't find one in time.
How do I start to look for one? Just open up the phone book? Search online?
What kinds of questions do I ask?
What do I look for when visiting?
What's more important? A focus on academic or social skills? (My daughter knows her ABCs, numbers, colors, shapes, and a good amount of info on nature & science. But she doesn't know or get to play with any children her age. She needs socialization.)
At what dollar amount are they overcharging?
Any advice or information on area preschools would be so appreciated! We live in Hammond, IN and would be willing to travel within 30 minutes drive to school.
Thank you Moms!

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answers from Chicago on

Goodmorning V.,
It is your choice if you want a pre-school setting that is very structured or more play oriented. Just make sure you go in and observe,and paying 100-150 a week is good. I know of two great daycares but they are in chicago, A Whizz Kids Preschool and Little Lamb. Also, try some of the Catholic Churches in your area. They can be pretty affordable.

All the Best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Hi Valerie- I think every school has it's own deadline for applications so I'm sure there are plenty of options still open to you. Here in Chicago private schools often have an early fall application deadline for the following school year but the preschools offered through Chicago Public Schools have much later deadlines for example. To find out about good schools in your area, I recommend chit-chatting with parents at your local playground. I find that this is where the best school news is shared. You can also check out the Great Schools website- they have a preschool section which offers a list of questions to think about when looking for a school and going on walkthroughs (

Good luck with your search!



answers from Chicago on

hi V., calm down sweetie! my goodness, you sound so stressed. my daughter goes to a preschool called seedlings. we live in cedar lake and actually the pre-school that she goes to is located in side the school that she will go to starting kindergarden and elementry school. she went this past yr and will go again in the fall.
that is great that she knows all of that stuff already. i would recommend looking for a pre-school that offers structure, learning w/play, maybe try to find one that is inside of the school that she will go to for elementry school. or if you go to church, your church might have a program. if not, you just have to feel comfortable when going and looking at the school. you want your child to be comfortable when she is not around you. i think any pre-school will more than likely meet the same requirements as far as learning standards go, i might like state mandated. i know most want the child to be potty-trained, which i am sure she is. the school that my daughter goes to his about $95 a month. alot of money huh? just for pre-school. last yr it was $85 a month, and now it went up. this yr in the fall she will go 3 days a week. we think of it as a good investment and i was going to shop around for a cheaper school but right now where she goes we like it for the fact that it is about 7 min. from our house, she has been there before and made friends, and she will go to that school till 5th grade. plus if she needs a ride from a family member for any reason, they don't have to drive all of the way out of their way to get her.
good luck! i hope my advice helps! if you have any questions fell free to contact me!



answers from Chicago on

Hi V.,

I, too, was clueless about preschool. I went online to and looked for a few schools in my area (Calumet City.) I was not happy with our neighborhood school so I made a list of schools with Pre-K programs and then went to visit them. A few I liked but were out of our price range and a few I didn't like based on the curriculum and the condition of the building or the reception I got from the staff. You will know what school you like when you walk in the door, that is why I recommend visiting first. I also talked to a few of my co-workers about where their children went. I chose Trinity Lutheran School in Lansing, IL for my almost three-year-old. I liked that it was close to my job, affordable, and it was linked to a church. She can also go there from Pre-K through 8th grade. We are not church-going, but I want my daughter to have good, faith-based education. What helped was I made a list of what was important for me to have in a school. I visited the school three times before I made my decision. There are a lot of schools out there and it is an important decision. Take your time and good luck!

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