I am torn between pre-K choice - Larchmont Avenue Church School or Discovering Me. My daughter will be in the 4yr old program. I like the flexibility that Discovering Me offers (monthly payments + variety of options between half-days and full days, 2 to 5 days a week, etc.) but am somewhat uncomfortable with their location right on the railroad and construction around the building. LAC only has a 5-day program for afternoons (not ideal timing for us) making the year more expensive as compared to a, say 3 afternoons at Discovering Me. My husband stays at home with our daughter. Any advice re: the choice between the two schools and/or pros and cons of a full week versus 2 or 3 days a week? Thanks in advance!
Since GS is a nationwide forum, the response will be a bit generic, but here's my thoughts.
If your husband is at home, and you're looking at flexibility, that's one side of this equation. And if you choose the afternoons program it costs more and it's less flexible, but it's in a more desirable location.
Over the years, I've known many families that have chosen both types of programs. Obviously a 5-day program can cover more ground than a part-time program on alternating days. But many kids don't need pre-K if they are being socialized elsewhere.
Is your husband going to take her to the library reading time, or to other enriching activities? Or as inflexible as a 5-afternoon program is, will it be easier for him to drop off and not worry about it after that?
With kindergarten getting more academic, and even pre-k becoming pretty academic, you may decide that a more structured program is better.
See if she can shadow a day at either program. That might be the thing that seals the deal.
It sounds as if there are many more pluses in the Discovering Me program for you than the other school. There is only one minus that you mention in regard to Discovering Me - the railroad/construction - ok, that's two. How bad is it? Is it a safety issue? Safety issues do outweigh other concerns. But you don't say you're totally uncomfortable with it but somewhat uncomfortable. Perhaps go spend another hour or two if you can at Discovering Me and assess the noise in the classroom from the railroad and construction. For other than that, it seems that this school is the right one for your family based on what you say.
As to how many days a 4 year old child should attend I'd say - if it's possible - a 4 year old child can benefit from attending every morning or even every day both morning and afternoon. Morning is the foundation of any school day and there were be some children - maybe many children - who are there every morning and possibly every day. Each day builds on the one before it and activities are started on one day and carry over to the next day and it's somewhat harder for the children to attend every other day to fully join in al the activities - they can feel a bit out of it or behind even though they're really not behind. And what seems like an easy rhythm to us - e.g. one day in school, the next day out, and the next day in - young children don't always fully understand why one day is different from another - why aren't I in school today?
When possible - if finances and family needs allow it - it's fine for a four year old to be in preschool every morning or even every day all day. It's the way of the modern world and it's why increasing numbers of children enter Kindergarten already knowing how to read and write - they learned it in preschool.
A good preschool gives a child a good foundation and a real advantage when they enter Kindergarten. One thing I would check out - is Discovering Me really a preschool or a daycare with a preschool component to it? If the majority of the children who attend Discovering Me are in and out, half-days mixed with full-days, two days a week in the same class with five days a week - that suggests that it's first intention is to provide flexible daycare for families - a wonderful thing. But it's hard to run a preschool when children are there and not there - a preschool in a daycare has to do some real 'catch as catch can' - rather than pursue and teach a solid curriculum.
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