Pre-School and Daycare

Trying to decide on preschool for 3 yr old- non-academic "Joy School" or academic-based

Our two options for preschool within our budjet are a mom that does a program in her home with a non-academic curriculum and a more academic option through our rec center, both 2 days per week.  I worry that the rec center does too many worksheets, but I worry that the JoySchool curriculum won't prepare her for school enough, since they aren't starting academics this year.  The non-academic preschool will do kindergarten readiness in the four year old year. I do Hooked on Phonics (which she loves) and hands on math/ counting activities with her.

I'm just not sure what to do. Does anyone have experience with the "JoySchool" curriculum?

Re: Trying to decide on preschool for 3 yr old- non-academic "Joy School" or academic-based

  • How old is your LO?

    I think that preschool is great for socialization and teaching kids how to follow instructions and interact with other children. My son is a little over 4 and has been in pre-K for about 6 months. I just had his yearly check up with the Pedi and she agrees that pre-k is where the real kindergarten prep happens. Anything before that should be play based and just to get kids used to being a school environment. I value my Pedi's opinion and view so I think she's pretty spot on.

    I would choose the place you are most comfortable with and the environment that seems the most nurturing.

  • I don't think a preschool should ever do any worksheets.  Ever.  Especially for 3s. 

    Now, that is not to say that preschoolers shouldn't have the opportunity to create things on paper.  My kids went to a very traditional preschool.  I was home during the day at that time, and I often helped in the classroom. Here's what things were like for them in 3s and 4s.

    3s:  Big emphasis on learning about themselves and other "friends" in class. Singing and finger plays. Listening and speaking.  Opportunities for gross motor development through play with various manipulatives: blocks, ring toss, climbing stuff on playground, body movement, etc.  Opportunities for fine motor development through art and by playing with toys like beads, sewing cards, counting tokens, etc.  Opportunities for language, cognitive, and social development by imaginative play.  The content curriculum was usually organized around a theme or topic for that month.  Example:  in October, children learned about the concept of change by talking about and exploring the concept of autumn.  They learned how leaves change color and fall, how birds fly south, how the weather grows cooler, etc. At my kids' school, 3s met 2 mornings a week.

    4s: Everything that 3s do PLUS, introduction to consonant sounds and letter recognition (capital letters only).  Counting with one-to-one correspondence between number and object.  Learning days of the week and month, and how a calendar represents them.  Learning that when we read and write, we start on the left and work to the right.  Learning to write their names properly, with initial capital followed by lowercase.  By the end, they began to use scissors to cut a circle and a square, although some kids with late birthdays still needed some time on this.  At my kids' school, 4s met 3 mornings a week, with the opportunity for "lunch bunch" with the Pre-K kids occasionally.

    My son  also spent a year in Pre-K at this preschool because he has a late birthday.  5 year olds did everything done by 4s, but worked on projects or ideas that stretched over more than a day.  For example, the kids designed and made a house out of egg cartons.  It took several days for them to put the house together.  They planted seeds and grew plants, measuring them with non-standard units (or rulers, if the kid was able to get how a ruler works) and drawing/describing them.  5s chose a picture from a magazine, then "wrote" stories about the pictures by dictating to the teacher, then shared their stories with the class.  They worked on math concepts like recognizing an "ABAB" pattern or an "ABCABC" pattern, etc.  Pre-K met 5 afternoons a week, with occasional opportunities to come in early for "lunch bunch" with other kids.

    I would look for a school with a great balance between all the areas of development: emotional, social, cognitive, and motor.  Moral development, too!
    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
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