Dylan goes to preschool this year two mornings a week - not a completely necessary activity, but one that we both enjoy. Our main goal with sending him this year (he was only 3 1/2 when school started) was to get him some social interaction - we figured it would teach him to stand in line, meet other kids, and have someone besides his Mother telling him what to do. Anyway, it's been a great experience for him and I'm glad we did it.
The original plan was to send him to pre-K next year at Hudsonville and then kindergarten the following year. I know that sounds like a lot of school, but since he has a November birthday that's just how things worked out. I am very confident in our decision to send him to school "late" - Matt has a November birthday and he went when he was older too, and every teacher and parent who has been there before has very much recommended that we do that with him (and later we will do the same with Ella).
However, if you've been paying attention to the media, pre-K and kindergarten funding is up in the air depending on how the state mandates funding for them (the push is for all-day, every-day kindergarten in Michigan). At this point it's really sounding like Hudsonville and most other districts won't be offering pre-K next year; they will need the space and the teachers for the all-day kindergarten programs, and they won't receive enough funding from the state to keep pre-K programs going.
Sign-ups just started up again at Mapletree, so we decided to sign Dylan up for their Four Years Old & Beyond class. We're risking a $50 deposit, but the peace of mind was worth it to me. This will allow some time for the situation with the state mandate to work itself out and also reserve a spot for Dylan at Mapletree.
As we have been weighing the pros and cons of both, it's starting to occur to us that it probably makes more sense to send Dylan to Mapletree again next year regardless of what the state decides. The upsides to pre-K (if they continue to offer it) is that's its free :) and the hours are more convenient for the parents. On the other hand, I think an all-day (8:50am-3:40pm), every-other-day schedule would be a little overwhelming for Dylan. The Mapletree schedule (4 mornings a week) involves more driving back and forth, but as long as Matt can keep taking him to school on his way to work, it's not a big deal for me to pick him up. And the extra money we spend on tuition is just an investment in his education, right?? :)
SO, I guess the point of this long post is just to state that we're leaning towards sending him to Mapletree again next year. The class he's signed up for next year has different teachers in a different room with a different curriculum so I think it will feel "new" to him while also feeling comfortable since he's familar with the school. I talked to a few moms at MOPS this morning who have kids in the Four Year Old & Beyond class this year and they had a lot of good things to say about it.
Anyone else out there with 4 year olds?? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic too.