Monday, January 29, 2007

Decisions, decisions....

I have a big decision looming before me. And it's one I have to make in the next day or two. Back in September when I put Ella on a few waiting lists for preschool I really didn't think we'd hear from all three of them. They all had waiting lists and are all quality programs. And September certainly isn't that early to get on a waiting lists. Some are said to have year plus long waits. I kind of figured that we had the best chance of getting into one that was really close and the best price and the others would be filled up. Of course all three schools would have a spot for Ella. We visited the first (cheapest, closest) earlier in the month and I was happy with what I saw and Ella was comfortable there. I figured our only dilemna would be, MWF or TR. That was enough of a decision for me and I thought about it for a week - while I'm thinking I hear from another school and we find out that Ella has the final spot for the three year old class - should we choose to accept! This one is more expensive, $35 more a month. I decide to take a tour just for the heck of it, in the back of mind thinking that it's not a good idea because I'll probably love it and have a tougher decision to make. What do ya know...I love it. I love the feel of it, the classroom layout, the structure, the curriculum. It's definitely nicer - but I'm not sure if it's worth the extra money. We could manage it for a year, but then when Catherine would start the following year that price difference would be even bigger. Each has its own advantages with scheduling, location, etc....but at this point it boils down to cost.

I guess my question is.....is it worth it and does it matter? Will our choice of a preschool really have that much of an impact on Ella and Catherine? A mom of four told me that when they get to kindergarten the teachers want kids that know how to listen and sit still and are acclimated to being in a classroom and with other kids. The rest doesn't really matter. Anyone agree with that? Ultimately I know there is no wrong decision. I'm sure the kids will do fine at either school (I forgot to add that the third was even more expensive than the 2nd and the furthest away = easy elimination!). Do we go the less expensive route and save money so we can invest in their education when they're older (i.e., all the classes and programs available to school age kids - because you know Ella will want to be a horseback rider! In her dreams..!)? Or are these formative years that important that we stretch ourselves to go to the more expensive school?

Ugh. Any wisdom from those that have been through this would be welcome. As well as from those who haven't and just have an opinion! As I said, I have to make a decision by Thursday at the latest, probably sooner than that. I'm sure you'll all be waiting on pins and needles to hear our pick!

Until then....please fill my comments with lots of advice or just tell me to suck it up and stop being so wishy washy. I promise I won't be offended. At least I won't be too offended. I mean, I probably will talk to you again....eventually!

In all seriousness, thanks for reading.....

7 comments:

greg. said...

megan, i wish i had valuable input here. my only comment would be that curriculum and facilities aren't the only factors that would matter to me, if i were making the decision. i would be the most concerned about the "feel" of the school. does it feel like a family? does it foster relationship? that would be where i would want my child. i think there is partial truth to the thing about what kindergarten teachers want. it is nice, i'm sure, if the kid has a head start on abc's and all the rest of it, but i think it would be even nicer if the kid has a solid ability to get along with other kids, to relate with other children. so, i don't know if that helps AT ALL, but i just think it would be a really important criteria for me.

greg.

chrissie k said...

i just wanted to comment that i have no stinkin' idea ;) i don't look forward to having to make those decisions. i don't even think we've even thought about sending the kids to preschool, isn't that awful!?!? love you.

Erin said...

hey, meg. i'm with greg. did you get to spend some time with the teachers? i don't think anything about the "curriculum" matters at this point. it's more important that she have some good interaction with other kids and that she enjoys it. i'd go with whichever place gave you the most "homey" feel vs. the best learning environment. she still so little...

mego said...

Erin and Greg -
What makes this hard is that both preschools have good teachers and are in warm environments. If one was clearly not so good it would be easier. I spent about 30 minutes in each classroom with Ella and she fit right into both and had fun. The teachers were so kind and seemed to love the kids. The $$$ one is just a bit nicer - no other way to put it, not even that it's that much better.

greg. said...

then, if it were me, i would go with cheaper and closer. but, that's just me.

Cindy said...

Megan-
I don't have to make this kind of decdision because we get k-4 offered through the local school. But I side with Greg on the $ thing. If Ella was happy and comfortable in both schools, of utmost importance when deciding as far as I am concerned, then go with the less money one. You are not hurting her away and saving yourself a bit of money in the process. Just an opinion of course!

Karen G. said...

hmmm, sounds like the closer/cheaper one is the way to go. (you didn't mention if either was Christian or not, so if one was and the other wasn't, then my vote would swing.) but if Ella is comfortable with them both, facilities probably don't matter as much at that age. save the money...

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