Schooling

Preschool or Homecare for Your Child?

Looking for a day-care for your child?

I was always a nervous mother. This is the way I am most of the time. I thought nobody can take better care of my son than me. I had a horrible time trusting anybody when it came to my child’s care.

Coming back to the USA from our overseas assignment our son was just a little bit over 3 years old. The time was coming close to the beginning of the school year and my father in Ukraine started asking me whether I decided against sending our son to the day-care. My husband didn’t mind. He was OK with the idea of me staying at home which worked just fine; however, I did have a desire to start looking for something to do outside my home and our son became so independent and inquisitive that having a mom for a play companion was not an option for him anymore. He was ready to make friends and be sociable.

My father insisted “Send that kid to school!” With trepidation in my heart, I started looking for options for little kids to socialize, learn, and grow outside their home.

Growing up in the Soviet Union where children were put to daycare as soon as they turned one year old gave me an idea of a day-care looking like a huge boarding school, where kids are put in big groups – 20-25 people with angry teachers, very structured environment, boring in most part and without love and attention. I also envisioned a child’s day dispersed with 5 meals, mid-day nap in a bed, outside playtime in the morning and afternoon, two learning sessions either math, language, craft or music and motion.

In retrospective, it looks just perfect for a child, but I hated it because I was not free to be creative, to do things that stimulated my mind, and I was sure that teachers didn’t love me. Of course, I could not express what I felt then, but I remember I just hated to be in the day-care.

So, I started looking for the day-care for my son in that little town in the USA where we decided to take roots. I had a good idea of what I was looking for.

I wanted:

  1. My son to be safe.
  2. The school must have a cozy, comfortable, cheerful, educational, inspiring environment.
  3. The routines must include learning life skills, eating time, easy access to bathrooms and running water with sinks.
  4. Nutritious healthy meals.
  5. Outside playground to encourage physical activity.
  6. Naptime opportunity.
  7. Music, foreign language, arts and craft exposure.
  8. Love and care.
  9. Independence in a safe and structured environment.
  10. Opportunity for parents to be involved and having tight communication with the teachers and supervisors.

I was a bit disappointed when I started searching for the right school for my pre-schooler. Nothing that I visited was a perfect match for my set of expectations, so I thought I was stuck with my son being at home and me figuring out his social and academic development. It is probably different when there are siblings in the family or other relatives and friends, but we did not have any family around and we are a one-child family.

I had to adjust. I looked at the Montessori school in our neighborhood. I had heard a lot of good things about this method of education and I had a feeling that it would be a good option for us. I was concerned about tuition though.

After having a long conversation with the director of the school and orientation hour for our son, I felt I found what I wanted. I still have a strong belief that preschool children need a nap in the middle of the day.  It is highly important for their health and development. The school didn’t have an acceptable option for naps and I could not compromise on that either.

We agreed that the half-day of school is just right for all of us.

That was the decision we made. I never regretted choosing the private Montessori school for my child. It was right, timely and perfect in our situation.

We got into a routine very fast: school in the morning, nap time at home in the afternoon, playtime, dinner, bed-time and our days went smoothly and peacefully ever since.

Please, let me know what pre-school or day-care did you choose for your children and how did it work for the dynamics of your family?

I appreciate your thoughts shared in the comments.

Much love,

Lena

Coaching for world travelers.

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