Headstart vs Private Preschool-need to Make Decision

Updated on May 28, 2010
B.H. asks from Detroit, MI
6 answers

I have been trying to make the decision about my son's preschool in the fall and it has been so hard to decide what to do. Round up for the private preschool is today and I need to make some type of decision.

The pros in the head start program are: It's a free program, my oldest son attends the same school, I believe the and I academic will be fine for his age.
Cons are: It's only a four day a week program ( I'm hoping my mon could watch him on friday's but not sure how it will work out) No latch key, and the Headstart program does not offer transportation. (I would be hoping he could ride the bus with his brother).
Private preschool - Pros- Meet five days per week, has latch key (included in the price) , very impressive openhouse and great reputation.
Con's - not free (however, still less than daycare), Longer driving distance from headstart program.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for your responses, The program that I did apply too was the Michigan school readiness program. I thought it was all headstart. The teacher of the program told me that they were able to accept others into this program if there were openings left. I also had a co-worker whose child was accepted a few years ago. Apparently some parents enroll their kids and then just stop bringing them. Anyway I decided to go with the other preschool. I like the fact that they have the morning prayer services. And I want my child to have that type of religious environment.

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answers from Tyler on

For us it was a no brainer. We chose the private preschool. I stay home so we couldn't afford the 5 day program but we chose the 3 day. It was a longer drive, plus a dif school than my daughter attends. It is 5 miles to each of their schools, and 5 miles back. On those 3 days a week we when they both were in school we were driving 40mi a day to take and pick them up from school. The schools started at dif times and it made it inconvenient but the education he got and the experiences were well worth it. He will be in kindergarten this fall so I'm glad to say my long car trips are over.

Did I mention we live across the street from an elementary school that has a headstart! Yea I know to some it may sound nuts that we paid a private prek for his education, but even though I do not work and my husbands paychecks were never consistant and we did not qualify for the headstart program. The two deciding factors in the headstart where we live are low income and spanish as a first language. 2 of which we did not qualify for!

As for the earlier reply to your question with the mom asking how can you afford private prek...depending on the type of school it can be much dif than paying for private grade school. Preschool centers are much more affordable and offer a better more involved curriculum vs a daycare.

Also we chose a charter school for our daughter rather than the public school across the street for it's quality and dif teaching methods, smaller class sizes etc. It would be more convenient for me to open my door and walk her across the street into class but I am happier, and she is happier with the drive to the school across town.

I would go with the private preschool. You will be happy you did and hey, you get what you pay for.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

I have never had the $ to put my children in a private preschool. But I loved headstart. The teachers were great and my daughter loved them. She is in 3rd grade now and still loves school. It was a great experience for her. The class was small (13) children and the teacher and the aid was able to gear the activities individually for each child. I loved head start but no longer qualify which is fine. Instead of sending my preschooler to a private preschool, I'm going to educate her from home. Many things to print to do on line. good luck with your decision.

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answers from Wausau on

Hi B.,
I'm in the UP. We had a choice of a private preschool, latch-key after if needed or Head Start (we were rural and our income would allow it) or the MSRP (Michigan School Readiness Program) program for 4 yr olds at the school. Our district did offer transportation but it only met in the afternoon, Monday to Thursday. That might have changed the name to the GSRP (Great Start Readiness Program for the Great Start initiative in MI now)

We ended up putting the kids in the private preschool and driving them to town. It was a 3 or 4 day program depending on 3 yr or 4 yr olds. They were each in it for the 2 years. I think they learned alot. They started learning Spanish...just counting, colors, etc. They worked on themes each month and had an open door policy. I think the kids excelled. My daughter also needed speech services and the Early-On speech therapist came right to our preschool. If anything like that is needed they would go to head start too and to the MSRP program.

I don't know much about our head start program up here. I didn't really check into it the first year because I wasn't thrilled it. I have met the director now and I think she is doing a good job so I would recommend it now. Each area is different. This is a federal program as opposed to the MSRP, a state program. Each has to fight for grant money every year. I'm wondering if you are looking at the MSRP (GSRP) program since you said that it's in the same school as the elementary school.

I have seen the MSRP class since it's in the elementary school. We did take our kids to that class a couple of times (after their preschool program ended in mid-May) so they could meet the children they would be in kindergarten with. I think it was a fine class just not exactly what I wanted. The MSRP does follow exactly what the kids need to know for entering kindergarten so don't worry about your child being behind or anything. Only 1 other child in my sons class went to the private preschool with my son (class of 14) and I think my daughter is the only one from her class to attend the private preschool (total of 22 kids).
Do whatever fits best for you. It sounds like the private school has more of what you need. We struggled financially too with the tuition and had to drive 40 minutes, one way, to get to the school! But i think it was better in the long run for my kids. Good luck with your choice.

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answers from St. Louis on

Well, I would compare the pros and cons to what you need and expect. You should be able to eliminate one. Also, did you interview the teachers from both places? That should play into your decision.



answers from Detroit on

my children attend the head start program before. it is excellent . i really enjoyed the feedback from the teachers and all the information given to the parents. i don't know what county you live in but in macomb county i was able to send my children to the full day program i didn't realise they had such a program until my children stared then i switch them to the full day because the were in head start long and afterwards was able to go to the latch key in the building mmy child started at 8:oo and i picked him up at 6:00 their number is ###-###-####



answers from Dallas on

It sounds like the private program has more of what you need. I think that's what you need to look at...which of the programs better meets your needs? What would you do if it works out that your mom can't help on Fridays? Based on what you wrote, as long as it fit in my budget I'd choose the private program. It sounds better suited to what you're looking for.

Good luck!

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