Daycare Preschool Vs. Reg. Preschool Vs. Private Preschool ... Preschool Help :)

Updated on March 24, 2012
A.B. asks from Bolingbrook, IL
11 answers

My husband and I have been talking about preschool for our 3 year old son and there is just some much to consider. I am very picky about what I want his preschool to have so it is hard to make a decision. We would love to send him to a private school like Avery Coonley in Downers Grove but it is just way too expensive. We would rather do only a half day type of preschool that has a great curriculum and a great staff. He is already very intelligent for his age (he knows pretty much everything to be in kindergarten already) so we are more sending him there for the social aspect of it and getting used to the school idea. Even though he doesn't need the learning part of it, he really loves to learn so it would be nice to have a very good, fun and creative curriculum. We would also like a place that has great teachers and not a lot of turnover with the staff. I have worked at a daycare and I was never impressed with their preschool so I feel as though that way is a no good. The park district has a preschool but I'm not sure how good it would be. He is doing the puddle jumpers classes at the park district and those have been good so far. I would really love to hear all and every opinions (good and bad) of preschools that your little ones attended/are attending. Also, did you do preschool when your child was 3 or 4? Which was better? We aren't sure if he needs preschool yet but we are considering it. This preschool process is a tough one! LOL! Thanks for all replies in advance :)

ADDED: Yes, I probably am overthinking it but isn’t that normally what us mamas do :) I still want a good curriculum even though my son knows a lot … I will always want that. I do want a preschool that does learning through play. His idea of fun is learning … he loves letters and numbers … so I want a preschool that fosters that. And yes he does know all of his letters, knows how to write all of them pretty well, knows his numbers to 100, knows all shapes and colors, can write his name and his brothers name as well as some other words, can spell many words if you ask him how to spell them, can read some books, and much more. He has a great memory (thanks hubby!) and memorizes things almost as soon as we tell him. It is crazy! Thanks again :)

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for your input. We ended up going to the Seedlings program through our park district and we (especially our son!) loved the rooms there and we like the idea of him playing outside a lot along with learning. We are very happy with our choice and can't wait for his classes begin ... neither can he :) Thanks again!

More Answers



answers from Kansas City on

I think you are over thinking this. Sure we all want our kids to be in the perfect place. But if your child is already smart enough to start kindergarten, why are you worrying about the curriculum so much? It won't hurt him to hear something he already knows. And just being there for the social aspects is enough for some. My kids when to preschool at age 4.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

we sent our older son at age 4, because we knew he would have 2 years of preschool before KG. (his B.D. was 5 weeks after the cut-off, & boys just do better closer/at age 6.)

Our younger son went at age 3. We knew he had issues with focusing, & at that point....we weren't sure if he would go at age 5 or 6. We knew it would depend on how well preschool went for him. In the end, we did wait a year & sent him at age 6. (his B.D. was 5 days before the cut-off, so he would have been the absolute youngest out of 125 kids. Not a good choice!)

Anyway, for me, that would be your starting point: will he attend KG at age 5? If so, absolutely start preschool at age 3! Socialization is the most important part of this stage. :)



answers from Washington DC on

I can only speak for my area and not the schools you mentioned.

My child will not be in preschool til 4. She will be in a program that is half days, M-F. It is play based. The whole school is small and her class is small. The teachers are knowledgeable. There is very little turnover. I was impressed with the 4 yr old teacher, her continuing education, her philosophies, etc. Moreover, DD was so comfortable at the open house that we could have left her there. I was looking for something small, close by and would teach through play. I read reviews from other parents. I looked at the other kids, and watched how everybody interacted.

I think DD needs to learn to follow someone else's instructions more than she needs to be drilled on her ABCs. I think she WILL learn but I wasn't looking for an intensive academic program.

She has been home with me the last couple of years and would have JUST been 3 last fall. We decided she didn't need it. She does library time, Sunday School, and has regular playdates. She has social time. She already knows colors, seasons, numbers, counts, some simple math, letters....but I think she's ready for school and will enjoy it. ENJOYING learning is important, too. I want her to enjoy learning for years to come. If your son is already leaps ahead in academics, find someplace that will promote that, but also allow him to grow in other ways by being with different people, being in a class, etc.

I don't think my SS even went to preschool. SD went at 4. SS got an academic scholarship and SD is on her way to college. I think your son will be fine.


answers from Houston on

It sounds like he may do well in a Montessori type setting.



answers from Chicago on

from how you describe your child a montessori school is your best choice. They allow your child to go at his own pace. If he is reading, they will foster that and go further with it. Honestly if your son is doing all that it won't matter where they go.
Does he know how to share, take turns, comfort a friend that is hurting, PLAY? Can he do things for himself (get dressed, potty, play independently, etc.) Those are what he will really LEARN in a preschool.
You could also look into a gifted program. I don't usually throw that term around, but your son does fit the bill for it honestly.



answers from Chicago on

I think your son needs to test in to Avery-Coonley, but it sounds like he is pretty sharp and would have a good shot at getting in :-)

The park district preschools are pretty good, but I opted to send my kids to private preschool because they had more outdoor play space and the ratio of children to teachers was a little bit lower.

I think sending your son to a play-based preschool is a great idea. It is a time to learn how to take turns, raise your hand to talk, use a public bathroom, make new friends, show-and-tell, and sit and listen to the teacher.

One of my friends has a son who was very gifted at an early age. When she talked to the school principal about the curriculum, the principal assured her that even if her son was way ahead of the class, he would still be challenged. Not only would he get extra learning materials, the teachers are trained to push kids into territories that they might not excel at. Learning to fail and learning how to cope with those feelings is just as important as learning how to succeed.

My daughter attended Peter Pan North Preschool. One year of preschool and one year of pre-k. I thought it was a very warm and friendly setting, and they did a great job of preparing my daughter for kindergarten. The parents were very nice too. My daughter attended a Montessori school prior to Peter Pan, and I felt like a lot of those parents were odd or competitive.

Good luck to you! There are too many choices out there, but I'm sure your son will love school.



answers from Chicago on

I don't live in your area, but both of my boys went to Lutheran preschools. They were 1/2 day classes that were play-based. Afterall, at this age learning the social skills happens during play. I would say go visit some places and get a feel for the teachers and classrooms. That is what I did. I was a teacher before I had kids, and I really focused on how the classrooms looked, and if I got a good feel for the teachers on first impressions. I loved the small class size that the lutheran preschools offered vs. the park district which seemed like a little much for a 3 and 4 year old. So is your child writing his name already , and does he recognize all the letter of the alphabet, 1-20 numbers? Those are typically the skills needed prior to kindergarten. (along with cutting).



answers from Chicago on

I always thought the Day care preschools are no good because Most of they did not have teaching certificates and most of them are idiots in my opinion. One wanted to hold my son back because he couldn't colr inside the lines. My answer to them was "Last time I checked, coloring isn't a prerequesite in college." Needless to say I didn't listen to them, and today this child is a straight A student. Now day some schools have half a day preschools next to the kindergarten rooms, which I thought was an excellent idea. Unfortunately, I couldn't take advandage of this since my kids were already in school when they started this where I live.



answers from Kansas City on

In our area, the private school preschools are the way to go! Daycare preschools are very "daycare" in my opinion. Our public school preschools are for at-risk children. And, you'd be surprised at how much most 3-year-olds know! My son is also 3 and I thought he was "advanced" for his age, but most of the other 9 children in his preschool class also knew all shapes, colors, letters, numbers, how to write their name, etc.



answers from Honolulu on

My daughter went to preschool at 3 years old. SHE wanted to go. SHE loved it.
My son went when he was 4. That is when he was ready.
They both went to different preschools. Why? Because both my kids are different. AND... I went WITH them to all the preschools/had the tour/and talked to the Director etc. And per the choices I had, I chose the Preschool, that my child... liked. And which suited them.
Both my kids are bright. And social. And I did not make the choice, only based on "academics." I made the choice of the school, per the overall quality of it. Also because, as a Mom, I ALSO... at home... teach my kids things and home school them.


answers from Fort Collins on

I agree that you may be over-thinking this a little. If you are primarily concerned about socialization, I would look for a school that will provide that. Look for a good teacher, good student-adult ratio, good "discipline" policy (love and logic is great). Let the teacher know what you are looking for and ask how they can help with that at HER school vs.the other options. Try to visit the school when in session...and WITH your child. Let him have an opinion...but ultimately Mom and Dad make the decision. Choose what feels right. Trust your gut.

We enrolled our son in preschool at 4yo for socialization. He had an excellent experience. I am very glad we did it before kindergarten. We went to a co-op preschool. It was a bit of a time commitment, but the tuition was affordable, the teacher had years of experience, and I was in the classroom enough (8x per semester) to know what was happening and how he was doing. It was a very tight knit community of families. I can't imagine ever going anywhere else!

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