GA pre-k vs Private — The Bump
Atlanta Babies

GA pre-k vs Private

Hi! We have a soon to be 3 year old. My DH and I are contemplating pre-k next year.  He is currently at a day care that I really like, but they do not offer the GA pre-k.  They do have a private pre-k option.  I am really having a hard time deciding whether we should move him to a center that does offer the GA pre-k or keeping him in his current center where it will be more expensive.  

I really don't want to move him because he is comfortable there and has friends there.  I also have not heard great things about the centers that offer the GA funded pre-k in our area.  We live in Douglasville.  My DH wants to look into it because if we get into a lottery spot, we will save quite a bit of money.

What are you experiences with the GA pre-k? I'm trying to do some research, but I feel lost.  I don't know where to start.   Any advice or research tips are greatly appreciated!

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Re: GA pre-k vs Private

  • I teach GA Pre-K and feel it's a pretty good program.  I'm sure there are better private programs out there too. It all depends on what the center you're at does for Pre-K. GA Pre-K follows GA's standards, which align with kindergarten. Private Pre-Ks can follow whatever they want, which could be a good or bad thing. Have you looked at the GA Pre-K site much? That would be a good place to start.  We are actually getting new standards next year and you can see them on there. I got to go to a focus group this spring and preview them, and I liked the improvements that they have made for next year. My son is also about to start Pre-K.  You mention that you're not hearing good things about the centers near you that offer it. That would be a big issue with me. It doesn't matter if GA Pre-K is good if the center itself doesn't have a good reputation or you don't get a good vibe from them. I would also call these places now and see if they even have space available. You may need to get him on some waiting lists if you even want to consider it. Our school's registration was months ago and we are already full. Not sure how it is in your area.  I'd be happy to answer any questions you have! There are many ladies on here who have had children in GA Pre-K too.

     Bright From the Start's website, look for Pre-K tab:

    https://www.decal.ga.gov/Default.aspx

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  • myrallmyrall member

    I got DD waitlisted on two different GA PreK programs intown because the GA PreK programs in my area didn't offer aftercare and were in schools (and our daycare doesn't bus).

    After I did the numbers, it ended up being cheaper to actually keep her at her daycare for the private PreK. If we'd come intown, I would've had to pay for before/aftercare and the cost shook out to be the same for private. 

    Our private PreK experience was amazing and Geneva only had 9 kids in her class. She's learned to read, can count to 100, can write, solve problems, and her teacher was able to really spend quality time with her to get her Kindergarten ready. I couldn't have been more pleased with her experience.

    Like the PP said, if you're not sure about the quality of the GA PreK program, you should probably look elsewhere. I know the cost savings is a big deal - I also have a 19-month old son in daycare. The minute DD starts Kindergarten, we stand to get an enormous raise! :)

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  • We did not even consider GA PreK because they are so horrible in our area. We were very, very happy with the private preK that my DD attended.
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  • We just went through this and I decided to keep her in the private preK at her current school. I had daycare issues when she was an infant and am very happy with her school now so I don't want to go through that again. Also I would have to pay for at least after school care and it wouldn't cost much more to just keep her where she is. Good luck!
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  • Mrs.GuzMrs.Guz member
    DD has been going to "school" at our church since she was 2. We're going to keep her there for PreK since she has created so many friendships and relationships with the teachers. We'd keep her there for Elementary School if they offered it!
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    Abigail Taylor 09.18.2008


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  • Our son was in private primrose preschool and we switched him to GA pre k at the same center. Our decision was mostly based on cost with DD also in full time care we needed to save some . We have been very happy with the program. A lot of it was repeat for DS though so if your kid is way ahead or gets bored easily, you may wish to keep him in private. But since we knew we would do public for kindergarten, I figured we'd face it then anyway. Do remember that you will also have to pay a lunch fee for ga pre k at most daycares. It's 130/mo for us which is the max plus we also pay for before/after care. Still way cheaper than private, but just something to keep in mind.

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  • I also want to echo how important it is that you love the daycare center where the GA Pre-K is. Even though GA Pre-K is separate, I find they are still closely interrelated. For example, the food prep is generally part of the daycare center. Our GA Pre-K teacher also helps out in other areas of the daycare when they are not in session, so there is a good bit of overlap. Gavin already knew his teacher very well before starting GA Pre-K this year b/c she helped out with their summer explorers program last year. If you are also going to be using before/after care, this becomes even more important. Our daycare will not be doing GA Pre-K after this year but I love them enough now that I won't be switching DD when she's old enough. We will probably keep her in private pre-K here just because this center is such a good fit for us.

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  • imagemyrall:

    I got DD waitlisted on two different GA PreK programs intown because the GA PreK programs in my area didn't offer aftercare and were in schools (and our daycare doesn't bus).

    After I did the numbers, it ended up being cheaper to actually keep her at her daycare for the private PreK. If we'd come intown, I would've had to pay for before/aftercare and the cost shook out to be the same for private. 

    Our private PreK experience was amazing and Geneva only had 9 kids in her class. She's learned to read, can count to 100, can write, solve problems, and her teacher was able to really spend quality time with her to get her Kindergarten ready. I couldn't have been more pleased with her experience.

    Like the PP said, if you're not sure about the quality of the GA PreK program, you should probably look elsewhere. I know the cost savings is a big deal - I also have a 19-month old son in daycare. The minute DD starts Kindergarten, we stand to get an enormous raise! :)

    This is a really good point in this debate- class size sucks with GA Pre-K, to be honest. We currently have 22 kids in our class, which is the max.  It is 2 teachers to 22 children. Centers with this program will always try to have the max as they get their funding per child. When I started teaching it 3 years ago it was 20, but with budget cuts it went up two more children. I am really hoping they at least take it back down to 20 next year and was told they are "trying to". Some people think 2 more kids is no biggie, but it is to me. 20 is really still too many. Geneva getting a Pre-K class of only 9 is exceptional. What I would give to teach that class! 

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  • Mrs.GuzMrs.Guz member
    imageseansgirl2006:
    imagemyrall:

    I got DD waitlisted on two different GA PreK programs intown because the GA PreK programs in my area didn't offer aftercare and were in schools (and our daycare doesn't bus).

    After I did the numbers, it ended up being cheaper to actually keep her at her daycare for the private PreK. If we'd come intown, I would've had to pay for before/aftercare and the cost shook out to be the same for private. 

    Our private PreK experience was amazing and Geneva only had 9 kids in her class. She's learned to read, can count to 100, can write, solve problems, and her teacher was able to really spend quality time with her to get her Kindergarten ready. I couldn't have been more pleased with her experience.

    Like the PP said, if you're not sure about the quality of the GA PreK program, you should probably look elsewhere. I know the cost savings is a big deal - I also have a 19-month old son in daycare. The minute DD starts Kindergarten, we stand to get an enormous raise! :)

    This is a really good point in this debate- class size sucks with GA Pre-K, to be honest. We currently have 22 kids in our class, which is the max.  It is 2 teachers to 22 children. Centers with this program will always try to have the max as they get their funding per child. When I started teaching it 3 years ago it was 20, but with budget cuts it went up two more children. I am really hoping they at least take it back down to 20 next year and was told they are "trying to". Some people think 2 more kids is no biggie, but it is to me. 20 is really still too many. Geneva getting a Pre-K class of only 9 is exceptional. What I would give to teach that class! 



    Yes!! Abigail's class right now has 10 kids and 2 teachers. It will be about the same next year too. Love it!!
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    Abigail Taylor 09.18.2008


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  • I just enrolled my almost 4 yr-old son in Georgia Pre-K b/c the centers here in Marietta are good and the one I chose is owned by the same people that own 2 nearby private daycare centers so they share the same food, which is good. It's also walking distance from my house and I work from home so I'm able to pick him up at 3:15 and not have to pay for before/after school care. The center I chose also has different start times so we picked 8:45 instead of having to go at 7:30 which is the start time for other GPK centers. I like that there's after school care if I need it and also holiday care (for an extra fee). If I had to work in an office all day, then I would go with private b/c the cost would be almost the same if I have to pay afterschool care. It all depends on what you need.

    Personally, if the GPK schedule/center sounds good and you can save a substantial amount of money (for us it's $180/month vs $900/mo in private) I think it's foolish not to take advantage of that. They are only 4 years old, how much of a difference is it going to make if they are "advanced" at this age or not. You can always supplement at home (which you should be doing anyway). And we can put the money we are saving towards his college fund. Let's face it, college is more important than Pre-K ;)
    Me: 44 DH: 42. DS born healthy at 40 weeks 8/24/09. TTC since then with no luck or ART. Surprise BFP 8/6/14... MMC @ 8 weeks 4 days... Miss you everyday sweet baby angel.
  • NewMrs07 said:
    I just enrolled my almost 4 yr-old son in Georgia Pre-K b/c the centers here in Marietta are good and the one I chose is owned by the same people that own 2 nearby private daycare centers so they share the same food, which is good. It's also walking distance from my house and I work from home so I'm able to pick him up at 3:15 and not have to pay for before/after school care. The center I chose also has different start times so we picked 8:45 instead of having to go at 7:30 which is the start time for other GPK centers. I like that there's after school care if I need it and also holiday care (for an extra fee). If I had to work in an office all day, then I would go with private b/c the cost would be almost the same if I have to pay afterschool care. It all depends on what you need.

    Personally, if the GPK schedule/center sounds good and you can save a substantial amount of money (for us it's $180/month vs $900/mo in private) I think it's foolish not to take advantage of that. They are only 4 years old, how much of a difference is it going to make if they are "advanced" at this age or not. You can always supplement at home (which you should be doing anyway). And we can put the money we are saving towards his college fund. Let's face it, college is more important than Pre-K ;)
    I disagree with this.  One of the biggest mistakes I feel like I have made as a parent was under estimating the long term effects of daycare and my oldest DD's preK experience.  
    As some of the pp's have mentioned, we did private preK at our daycare when she was 4.  She's a September birthday and our center allowed her to be in the preK class even though she missed the bday cutoff for GPK.  But when we moved her to public school, there was a ton of repeat information and I really believe that this started her off on the wrong foot in school. She was so bored, the class size was huge, lots of playing around and acting out, etc.  Being one of the oldest in her class worked against her for a few years anyway but having her basically repeat the curriculum 2 years in a row was a horrible idea on our part :(

    The whole reason we moved her to GPK vs private K and then transition to public school in 1st grade was to save money and in hindsight, I really wish that we would have sucked it up and sacrificed financially for one more year.  I can't help but think it would have made a huge difference in her entire elementary school experience.  I know every child is different, but for us age 4-5 were such formative years.
  • K&P414 said:
    But when we moved her to public school, there was a ton of repeat information and I really believe that this started her off on the wrong foot in school. She was so bored, the class size was huge, lots of playing around and acting out, etc.  Being one of the oldest in her class worked against her for a few years anyway but having her basically repeat the curriculum 2 years in a row was a horrible idea on our part :(
    Agreed, and this is my concern for us next year.  Our daycare has GA PreK and while I love the center itself, I am afraid that with her "extra" year in their preschool class (December birthday) and the repeat info. she will get bored quickly and goof off in a unproductive way. We've been looking at both private and other GA programs intown and they are all so different.

     
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  • edited August 2013

    Fortuantely, DD's center offers GA Pre-k and is nationally accreditioned. It was such an easy transition since she was already used to going there and was friends with a lot of the kids already. Plus they let us register early since DD was already enrolled in their daycare program, and we didn't have to go through the lottery process like the outside applicants. We'll be doing private elementary school, so at least we get one year to save. 

    That said, it really depends on your area. I know programs really vary depending on who adminsters them even if there is a set curriculum. I would talk to other parents to get a feel for the programs in your area.

  • DD has been going to a private school and will continue there this year for preK.  There are 16 kids in a class of 16.  She's been there for preschool for 2 years already and we love the progra,  She has been learning spanish and there is a great music and art program.  DD is learning to read at home with me.  And in her preK class, they will work with us on continuing that.  She can leave the classroom for some extra reading lessons because as one of the older kids in the class, she may be further along than others.  We're really pleased with the private school experience, and although we live in a great public school neighborhood, I'm going to have a hard time deciding what to do next year.
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  • K&P414 said:
    NewMrs07 said:
    I just enrolled my almost 4 yr-old son in Georgia Pre-K b/c the centers here in Marietta are good and the one I chose is owned by the same people that own 2 nearby private daycare centers so they share the same food, which is good. It's also walking distance from my house and I work from home so I'm able to pick him up at 3:15 and not have to pay for before/after school care. The center I chose also has different start times so we picked 8:45 instead of having to go at 7:30 which is the start time for other GPK centers. I like that there's after school care if I need it and also holiday care (for an extra fee). If I had to work in an office all day, then I would go with private b/c the cost would be almost the same if I have to pay afterschool care. It all depends on what you need.

    Personally, if the GPK schedule/center sounds good and you can save a substantial amount of money (for us it's $180/month vs $900/mo in private) I think it's foolish not to take advantage of that. They are only 4 years old, how much of a difference is it going to make if they are "advanced" at this age or not. You can always supplement at home (which you should be doing anyway). And we can put the money we are saving towards his college fund. Let's face it, college is more important than Pre-K ;)
    I disagree with this.  One of the biggest mistakes I feel like I have made as a parent was under estimating the long term effects of daycare and my oldest DD's preK experience.  
    As some of the pp's have mentioned, we did private preK at our daycare when she was 4.  She's a September birthday and our center allowed her to be in the preK class even though she missed the bday cutoff for GPK.  But when we moved her to public school, there was a ton of repeat information and I really believe that this started her off on the wrong foot in school. She was so bored, the class size was huge, lots of playing around and acting out, etc.  Being one of the oldest in her class worked against her for a few years anyway but having her basically repeat the curriculum 2 years in a row was a horrible idea on our part :(

    The whole reason we moved her to GPK vs private K and then transition to public school in 1st grade was to save money and in hindsight, I really wish that we would have sucked it up and sacrificed financially for one more year.  I can't help but think it would have made a huge difference in her entire elementary school experience.  I know every child is different, but for us age 4-5 were such formative years.

    This makes no sense. If you had selected private Pre-K instead of public, your daughter would have been even more bored when starting public Kinder. The only way to maybe prevent that would have been to keep her in private all the way to high school, which was not your plan anyway. I don't see how being in private Pre K and then switch her to public Kinder would be better. Rather, it would be worse. And my son is the youngest in his class since he turns 4 a week before the cutoff, so in his case, he's challenged bc most of the kids are older than him. Unless he's a genius, he will most likely always be challenged in either private or public simply because he will be the youngest. Another reason why parents should not hold back their children for a year, which seems to be popular nowadays and also makes zero sense to me.
    Me: 44 DH: 42. DS born healthy at 40 weeks 8/24/09. TTC since then with no luck or ART. Surprise BFP 8/6/14... MMC @ 8 weeks 4 days... Miss you everyday sweet baby angel.
  • Also, my son already knows Spanish from me, so he doesn't need that from a private school. Plus, now that there's extra money, I enrolled him in music class on Saturdays and I have the luxury of spending on other enrichment activities of my choosing. If your kid ends up not graduating from high school, believe me, it's not because they didn't go to Private Pre K, it's for other reasons. It's all about the parents and how you support your child's education at home.
    Me: 44 DH: 42. DS born healthy at 40 weeks 8/24/09. TTC since then with no luck or ART. Surprise BFP 8/6/14... MMC @ 8 weeks 4 days... Miss you everyday sweet baby angel.
  • NewMrs07 said:
    K&P414 said:
    NewMrs07 said:
    I just enrolled my almost 4 yr-old son in Georgia Pre-K b/c the centers here in Marietta are good and the one I chose is owned by the same people that own 2 nearby private daycare centers so they share the same food, which is good. It's also walking distance from my house and I work from home so I'm able to pick him up at 3:15 and not have to pay for before/after school care. The center I chose also has different start times so we picked 8:45 instead of having to go at 7:30 which is the start time for other GPK centers. I like that there's after school care if I need it and also holiday care (for an extra fee). If I had to work in an office all day, then I would go with private b/c the cost would be almost the same if I have to pay afterschool care. It all depends on what you need.

    Personally, if the GPK schedule/center sounds good and you can save a substantial amount of money (for us it's $180/month vs $900/mo in private) I think it's foolish not to take advantage of that. They are only 4 years old, how much of a difference is it going to make if they are "advanced" at this age or not. You can always supplement at home (which you should be doing anyway). And we can put the money we are saving towards his college fund. Let's face it, college is more important than Pre-K ;)
    I disagree with this.  One of the biggest mistakes I feel like I have made as a parent was under estimating the long term effects of daycare and my oldest DD's preK experience.  
    As some of the pp's have mentioned, we did private preK at our daycare when she was 4.  She's a September birthday and our center allowed her to be in the preK class even though she missed the bday cutoff for GPK.  But when we moved her to public school, there was a ton of repeat information and I really believe that this started her off on the wrong foot in school. She was so bored, the class size was huge, lots of playing around and acting out, etc.  Being one of the oldest in her class worked against her for a few years anyway but having her basically repeat the curriculum 2 years in a row was a horrible idea on our part :(

    The whole reason we moved her to GPK vs private K and then transition to public school in 1st grade was to save money and in hindsight, I really wish that we would have sucked it up and sacrificed financially for one more year.  I can't help but think it would have made a huge difference in her entire elementary school experience.  I know every child is different, but for us age 4-5 were such formative years.

    This makes no sense. If you had selected private Pre-K instead of public, your daughter would have been even more bored when starting public Kinder. The only way to maybe prevent that would have been to keep her in private all the way to high school, which was not your plan anyway. I don't see how being in private Pre K and then switch her to public Kinder would be better. Rather, it would be worse. And my son is the youngest in his class since he turns 4 a week before the cutoff, so in his case, he's challenged bc most of the kids are older than him. Unless he's a genius, he will most likely always be challenged in either private or public simply because he will be the youngest. Another reason why parents should not hold back their children for a year, which seems to be popular nowadays and also makes zero sense to me.
    Okay, well maybe the reason it doesn't make any sense is because you misunderstood the situation.  She was in private preK the year before she was old enough for GPK.  And then transitioned to GPK (following the correct birthday rule of 5 years old by Sept 1st) at our public school the next year, followed by public K.  She was in BOTH private and GPK.  It was a mistake, I wish we would have made different choices.  This isn't a generic opinion, this is an actual account of my child and her experience.  Every kid is different, I'm not attempting to make a blanket statement.

    You made a comment about college being more important than PreK and I just wanted to share that in my experience, I underestimated how important PreK actually ended up being for my child.  

    In hindsight, I wish that I would have done private for PreK and K5 (with her being under the birthday rule, i.e. not old enough for the public school program) and starting K at our public school when she met the age requirement.  There is a K5 program at our place that is a transitional class between preK and Kindergarden.  We opted not to go this route because we were eager for the financial break we would get from moving her to public school.

    And I'm not sure what your comment about speaking Spanish has to do with anything?  Both our private school and public school classes have foreign language classes.  

    As far as holding kids back, both of my children have birthday's around the cutoff date and I have opinions for both sides of the fence.  Part of the struggle my older child had in PreK and K was that as the oldest she was alot more mature than most of the kids in her class.  The birthdays weren't balanced and just by luck of the draw, aside from her and 2 or 3 other kids, it was a very young class with most of the kids having summer birthday's.  I'm sure the parents of the younger kids thought it was awesome that they weren't in class with a bunch of kids a year older than them.  But for us, it wasn't an ideal setup.  The older the kids get, the less noticeable a few months difference in age becomes.  

  • NewMrs07 said Another reason why parents should not hold back their children for a year, which seems to be popular nowadays and also makes zero sense to me.
    It may not make sense to you but for some families like mine its the best for our child. I could care less what anyone else things and we will do what is best for our boys. Just like I'm sure you do for you kids. Some magically day in the year that says your kid should start school or not doesn't necessarily mean the kid is ready.
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  • eidaeida member
    What school is that? My son is an October baby and really advanced for his age. I'm looking for a private pre-k that doesn't follow the September 1st age requirement.

  • Daisy22 said:
    NewMrs07 said Another reason why parents should not hold back their children for a year, which seems to be popular nowadays and also makes zero sense to me.
    It may not make sense to you but for some families like mine its the best for our child. I could care less what anyone else things and we will do what is best for our boys. Just like I'm sure you do for you kids. Some magically day in the year that says your kid should start school or not doesn't necessarily mean the kid is ready.
    Certainly, to each her own. It makes sense for some parents but not for us. Our son will be extremely bored if we hold him back a year. So, even though he's the youngest in his class, he will be going to Kinder in August. He just completed Georgia Pre-K at Sprayberry Academy (Marietta) and he did great. He matured a lot and progressed significantly. He is almost reading. He's also very active and social so holding him back would be a bad idea in our case. Good luck everyone! I highly recommend the Georgia Pre-K in our area. We didn't even have to wait for a lottery b/c SA has 220 slots. Easy peasy.
    Me: 44 DH: 42. DS born healthy at 40 weeks 8/24/09. TTC since then with no luck or ART. Surprise BFP 8/6/14... MMC @ 8 weeks 4 days... Miss you everyday sweet baby angel.
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