Friday, January 23, 2009

kindergarten conundrum

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.


  1. I understand your dilema! Unfortunately, Gibson has a December birthday, so pre-k was never an option. We are planning on 4 year old preschool next year as well. I do agree with sending him as an almost 6 year old kindergartener. I think that is very beneficial...especially for boys.

  2. Oh my... you are dealing with the same dilemma that Rob and I have been discussing for the past month! All of a sudden I realized that we had to make some sort of "official" decision in Madisyn's public or Christian education. To make a long story short, we have yet to decide, but we are deferring that decision for next year. Fortunately Freedom Early Learning Center (FELC, where the kids have been attending two - three days/week) has preschool and Pre-k. SO... Madisyn will be going to Pre-K there next year. The main draw for us is that we know the teachers, love the teachers and it's been a fantastic school for the kids (academically, socially and spiritually). I’m not looking forward to deciding what to do again next year!

  3. I've never heard a parent say "We wish we had gone ahead and sent our son to school early," but I have often heard parents lamenting their decision to start their 4 year old in kindergarten. Just think, let alone the academic and social benefits of waiting, he'll be bigger and better when he is ready to play sports in middle and high school!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...