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Preschool Blues

May 20th, 2008 at 04:42 pm

DS turns 3 at the end of September, and I'm trying to decide between two preschools.

The first preschool is run by a local church. It's $221/mo for two mornings a week (3 hours each). I also work from home in the afternoons, and hire a nanny to babysit 20 hr/wk at $12/hr. (DS sleeps during half that time, but I need the coverage for days when I go into the office.) So my total cost per month is $1181. He's currently in the two-year-old class there, and I love the teacher. Because of his late birthday and reserved personality, he would stay with that teacher for another semester.

The preschool down the street, where DH can drop him off on the way to work, is $1000/mo. It's a full-time school that is open from 8-6 -- learning activites in the morning, lunch, 2 hour nap, and free playtime in the afternoon. DS would probably stay from 9 until nap is over at 3, so about 30 hr/wk.

I'm having a hard time deciding. The school down the street is cheaper and more convenient, and I think the learning part of the programs is similar. The other big advantage is that when I need to go into the office for a day and work until 6, there's no extra charge, where it's $12/hr if my nanny stays late.

The advantages of the current situation is that I get to spend 3 mornings a week with my son, and when the nanny is taking care of him I can hear them playing. He always stops by my office for a kiss before going down for a nap.

With the school down the street I'd spend about the same amount of time alone with him in the afternoon, say from 3-6. But somehow morning time is so much better than afternoon time!

On the other hand, at 3 perhaps more time with other kids would be better than time alone with a nanny.

If we go to the new school, I've been thinking about keeping him home 3 mornings a week, and leaving him there later in the afternoon. So the schedule might be 9 - 4 MW and 12-4 on TThF. The problem is I don't know if the director will be accomodating if I have my son skip so much of the academic portion -- she doesn't seem to be very flexible and could very well tell us to take him to another school instead. She's also set a July 7 start date, so that kills part of the summer for swim lessons, etc. (There are only 8 spots total for kids born Sep-Dec '05, and of course a waiting list, so it's pretty easy for her to tell us to take a walk.)

There are 2 other daycares that would be reasonable to consider, but I haven't checked them out yet, and so would probably end up on a waiting list.

It's a tough decision -- my heart says stay with the current setup, my head says the new school makes more sense financially and schedule-wise. I'm sure my son would thrive at either school.

1 Responses to “Preschool Blues”

  1. monkeymama Says:

    I had replied to your question (in my blog) and sensing this is why you were asking I did touch on that finding full-time or part-time daycare is generally a much better/cheaper option, whereas you do not have to use the full time. Most places as long as you pay for the time they care little how much you come and go.

    Likewise, you may want to consider less "preschool" and more "daycare." Some of those little in-home daycares are just the best, and as long as you are paying for a full-time spot they really could care less what schedule you want (as long as you aren't disrupting nap time or stuff like that). I'd look around a lot more and not get stuck with places with long wait lists. I think there are many more options than you listed.

    On the flip side we couldn't find anything in our zip code (or area) so I drive the kids a few minutes past my work. But for both the best and the most affordable care, I wouldn't change a thing. In that sense, I understand the frustration. I think few people understand why we picked a place 20 miles a way. For us it was just the best option as we were not happy with the options in our backyard.

    Good Luck...

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