Hoping to find some advice as to how to plan the next three school years for our daughter, who turned two in December, and therefore won't start kindergarten until she close to 6 (and misses the deadline for Oakland's transitional-k by 10 days). I hate to be 'that mom', but she is seriously, strikingly smart in terms of language and literacy, though I'd say she's socially normal (ie not advanced in terms of interpersonal skills). I really believe she's ready to phase out of her nanny share and start some sort of preschool in the fall. The problem is that this means she would have three years of preschool, which seems like A LOT. We don't have much money, so we can't afford to do extra enriching classes along with nanny share or preschool, and in fact we can't afford the vast majority preschools, needing something that is in the $1000/month range. (Nanny share right now only 2 days per week, supplemented by parent and grandparent care.) Has anyone had their smart kid in preschool for 3 years and been happy with the situation? Other options? I would also welcome recommendations for a preschool in Oakland that offers full-day care that you think might be suitable for this situation. That Mom
hi there, i also have a daughter with a late december birthday who is likewise not eligible for public kindergarten or transitional kindergarten. we moved here from overseas where she was enrolled in a public (universal:) preschool system that kept her with her birth year peers. moving here i was dismayed by the thought of an ''extra'' year of preschool for financial as well as ''developmental'' reasons. my advice to you is to choose a preschool that has its own kindergarten class (we have found a few - montessori and waldorf preschools are good places to start looking) so that your daughter can attend kindergarten ''early'' if you and her teachers agree she is ready. in theory at least she could move from private kindergarten to public first grade - but if someone knows otherwise, please speak up!!! also i think 3 years of preschool is also not inherently a bad thing as long as you choose the school carefully and it allows for the child to mature in place. and while there are very few private schools that take young kindergarteners, crestmont in richmond is, based on our research, a wonderful and affordable option. hope that helps a bit! that other mom
Lakeshore Childrens Center may fit the bill for you. It is full time an around $1000 a month (just a bit over that now, I think). They have 2 houses, Kleines Haus, for the 3-year-olds, and Kinder Haus, for the 4's and 5's. They divide each house into groups under different teachers. In Kinder Haus, Joanie takes the 5-year-olds and basically runs a pre-K program. She's a credentialed kindergarten teacher and does a fabulous job with her ''smart cookies.'' My daughter only did 2 years of pre-school, but due to a mid-year departure ended up moving into Joanie's class mid-year, before her 5th birthday. In the 7 or 8 months she was in the class she made great progress on her pre-reading skills. She was almost reading when she started K (starting to sound out letters) and by October of kindergarten she was really reading.
There are many reviews of LCC on BPN. They have great staff and low staff turnover. Some of the teachers have been there 20 years or more, and one of the school age teachers is 2nd generation (his dad has taught at Kleines Haus for more than 30 years). Carrie
No advice on the preschool decision, but just wanted to note that I believe OUSD will accept December birthdays into the TK program as long as there is space; you just get prioritized behind the students who turn five by December 1st. Just something to consider! Another parent of a fall baby
Can you look into part-time preschool options? That could give your child a great transition to preschool. Since you have parent and grandparent care to supplement the nanny share, can you use one or both of those to supplement preschool instead? A part-time preschool (for example, 3 mornings a week, or 2 full days) probably wouldn't cost a lot more than your nanny share.
If you or another parent is available some of the time, you could look into a co-op, in which you pay less money in fees, by working one day a week (or so) to help in the classroom. There are a lot of co-ops around here. An in-home daycare could also be an option - often less expensive than a preschool, and provides more stimulation and interaction than a nanny-share. If you do need full-time preschool, there are preschools around here in the price range you describe. My child goes to Chatham Preschool which costs about that. Preschool parent
My son, also a Dec birthday, had three years of preschool and it was fine. I think many kids with fall birthdays will fall into this category. He's not a brainiac, but smart enough. I'd say finding an affordable preschool is your bigger dilemma! anon
Add to your musings the fact that some private schools are more flexible re birthday / kindergarten entrance guidelines. Some are willing to evaluate a slightly younger child, and many do offer financial aid. I have a very precocious boy, and went this route, myself. It's worked out quite well for him. early entrance mama
Hello, I don't know if you are near Alameda, but Rising Star Montessori there would be a great option for you. They have 2 campuses-- the Cottage for the younger ones and the main campus on High St. for the older ones. Rising star has different ''levels'' if you will of preschool, and also the Montessori method allows for kids to do a lot of work at their own level. They work on ''jobs'' independently for various skills and move on to the next levels when they are ready. Rising Star is also very reasonably priced, plus has full-time before and after care.
If Alameda doesn't work for you, I would say that Montessori would be a good way to go, for the reasons I was stating above. It is great for kids at different levels to all work at their own level within a class. Also, no matter which philosophy you choose, you will probably want to go with a larger program that has multiple levels of preschool classes since she will be there awhile. Then she can move up with her ''cohort.''
By the way, my child was in preschool for 2.5 years, and we know kids who were in preschool as long or longer and they did just fine. Kids don't keep track of time like we do, and as long as they are enjoying themselves, the length of time they are there is more of an adult concern. If you choose the right place for your daughter, she will do just fine. Preschool Parent
We are just beginning the preschool search, but are having a challenging time finding schools where the programs are designed to accommodate three full years of preschool--which our fall birthday child will likely be doing. (We know about and are watching the OUSD Transitional K programs, which he will be eligible for, but would like a preschool where our child can remain for all three years if we go that route without feeling like he is repeating a year or they're making a special exception for him.) We're not necessarily looking for a school with a Bridge K program, although that would be fine--but just hoping to put together a good list of schools where the program can grow with a child there for a third year, and where he will have peers who are also there for the third year. We need a full-time program somewhere in Berkeley or (ideally) North/Central Oakland--any schools we should be sure to look at? Thanks! Mama of a soon-to-be preschooler
I don't know what type of school you are looking for (Montessori, play-based, co-op, etc...), but if you are interested in a more ''academically'' focused preschool/preK I would HIGHLY recommend Starlite Child Development Center /East Bay Academy. My daughter has been there for about 18 months now, she will be starting K in the fall (they actually offer K classes at Starlite as well), but I know other kids who have been there 3 years before K. It is located on 14th Street in Oakland on the periphery of Oakland's Chinatown. Most of the students and faculty are of Chinese descent (as is my husband), but they are very welcoming and there are other kids of different races/ethnicity as well. I like that the school is more academically focused (my daughter is already starting to read and is learning chinese as well), but has a very welcoming and ''family like'' atmosphere. Don't get me wrong...it's still a preschool so there is plenty of play time, art, music, etc...but they do really focus the preK kids on being prepared for kindergarten. In fact, when the people at my daughter's new school (K this fall) saw Starlite on her school application they commented on how kids from that school are usually ahead of their counterparts.
There is usually a waiting list because the program is so in demand (and affordable - $620 for full-time school / M-F 730-6), so if it at all interests you I suggest you take a tour ASAP. I am definitely going to have my son (now just 7 months old) attend as soon as he is eligible too. A VERY satisfied Starlite parent
Step One sounds like it fits the bill...Your little one could do two years in the nursery school and then one year in the Bridge K. We'll just be starting the Bridge K next year, so I don't have first hand experience in that room, but our experience in the nursery school has been fantastic and the Bridge K teachers are great. There are lots of rave reviews of Step One on BPN and you can visit and see for yourself what a special place it is, so I won't go on and on. But look into it -- it's a great little school, if the Berkeley Hills location will work for you... Step One parent
I have two fall babies (currently aged 4 & 2) so I have thought a LOT about this issue! My conclusion is that I don't want my kids to have 3 years of preschool. As a result, the older one will be going to K this year (he barely makes the cutoff) and the younger one (who will not make the cutoff) will do an extra 6-12 months in daycare as opposed to preschool. My older one is in his 2nd year at a playbased school that does do a fair bit of work on letters and a bit of numbers, and in many ways as far as I can tell, approximates kindergarten in the olden days (as in, when I went to K). Even though he may not be quite ready socially, leaving him there an extra year would be a total waste of time; the school is not geared up for those ''third years'' and even in a different classroom it would be the same ''curriculum'' (same holiday celebrations, etc.). And Bridge K programs in Berkeley are just out of control expensive. So off he'll go to K. For my little one, I have the benefit of seeing how 2 years of preschool has completely readied the big one for K academically, so I have no inclination to pay for an extra year of preschool. She can start at almost 4 and probably be the most prepared kid in her K class since she'll be one of the oldest anyway. My longwinded advice to you is to think hard about if you really need to pay for that extra year of preschool - all of you might be better off staying in daycare until summer 2014. 2-Years of Preschool Family