Picking a preschool is a big decision! I have learned a lot of lessons about preschool quite by accident. When Abigail had just turned two years old we lived in Palo Alto, CA. Justin was doing a Fellowship at Stanford's Children's Hospital. Our apartment was across the street from Stanford. Many of my friends or their husbands had attended Stanford or even Harvard. As a parent of a two year old there was a lot of pressure about what preschool your child attended. After all, they might not get into a great college if they didn't attend a great preschool :) (at least that is how I felt)
I didn't feel like I was ready to have our oldest daughter be gone so I opted to teach her at home and we switched off with a couple of other moms one day a week. We moved and the next year and I did the same thing.
The year before she went kindergarten I felt a tremendous amount of guilt because she hadn't attended a formal preschool. It seemed that every other kid around me had spent years in formal preschool before setting foot in a kindergarten classroom. As a mother I felt guilt. To make matters worse, my husband was applying for jobs and it didn't make sense to enroll her in a preschool when we knew we would be moving; and to top it off money was tight. More guilt. . . how would she do socially, academically when she started school?
Guess what happened? When she started school she excelled! She made friends and she did well academically and was even taken out of kindergarten for more advanced math.
The day she started first grade and was gone all day I cried as I realized that she would be gone for so long every day. I was so grateful that I had taken full advantage of the years that I did have her at home and so I decided that the preschool years are mine, all mine. I don't send my kinds to any kind of preschool. I love being the teacher. So far I have had four kids graduate from my preschool and they have all in turn started elementary and done well!
The most rewarding thing I do in a day is teach my children and I have learned that the best way to learn to read is one on one.
I recognize that this situation doesn't work for everyone, but so far it has worked for us.
A few curriculums that we have used over the years are:
-I have also adapted the kindergarten curriculum to teach preschool.
-I have used the book, "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons"
Over the past 9 years we have had the opportunity to be in 7 fun preschool groups with other moms. We also have some years that I just teach our kids one on one.
I guess the best lesson learned
is to not worry about any outside pressure that you receive from "what everyone else is doing" just do what works for you and your family:)