Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Let's talk preschool

When the girls were infants, I read quite a few discussion threads on a triplet message board regarding preschool. The general consensus appeared to be that:
  • Preschool was expensive.

  • And unnecessary. (I think being expensive helped with this determination.)
I didn't really have an opinion or a plan. When your three babies are a year old and you have been in survival mode for that entire year, you don't really plan much. Your brain can't handle planning that far in advance.

Anna began receiving physical therapy (PT) services through Early Intervention (EI) when she was about 15 months old (I think.) We soon became aware that EI is only offered until the child turns three and then the child is transitioned into the public school system.

Preschool is not an educational requirement. What does this mean? It means that you have to pay for preschool even if attending public schools unless your child requires services. So EI transitioned Anna to the public school system shortly before her third birthday. Because of this, we do not pay for her schooling. It is free.

Public preschool classrooms (in Massachusetts) are set up so that half of the 12 to 15 students in the classroom are there to receive services and the other half are there as "peer models." We pay $240 total per month for Allie and Emily to attend preschool. We are lucky in that our town has a fairly large preschool program. Several surrounding towns have wait lists for their preschools.

I think a general misconception is that preschool is all about socialization. It actually isn't. Preschools have curriculums. I mention this for anyone who is considering preschool for their child(ren). I do think it is important to find out what the curriculum is because there are some programs that are really geared toward socialization while others are not.

We felt that preschool would be best for the girls in terms of learning what it is like to be in a structured classroom setting. They have never been in daycare and I thought that the transition from being at home to attending kindergarten would have been a big shock.

The girls are learning things that I would never have thought to teach them at this age. Like the days of the week. Did you know that there is song for that? Sing along as if you were singing Oh My Darling, Clementine:

"Sunday, Monday
Tuesday, Wednesday
Thursday, Friiiiiiiday, Saturday"

Allie sings this all. the. time. She has been more vocal than Anna and Emily with respect to school stuff. She was singing another song with a line "there are seven days in a week." They are also learning the months and seasons.

In addition to learning their letters, they learn what sounds those letters make and associate that sound with words. So the girls might walk around the house saying, "Ta..ta..ta...toe! Ta...ta...ta...tiger!"

One night last week, I asked Allie to go write her name for me. She didn't have anything to look at, copy or follow. She returned with a piece of paper with "AELE" on it. Then she said, "Oh, I forgot the other L and she tried to add it after the A. I was so proud of her. Unfortunately for her, Allie is a nickname so there may be some confusion between spelling her legal name and her nickname.

Okay, so this is the best quote ever. It comes from Allie. Ms. D is her teacher.

"But Ms. D says that we should make every day a fun day."

This was after Allie asked me where we would be going the next day and I replied, "Nowhere."

And more random stuff. Em's nickname at school (from her teacher) is GigglEmily. She actually brings home papers that say this on it.

So I guess the point of this post is to show that there is more to preschool than socialization. The girls are learning more than I discussed above. I thought it would be boring (and long) if I went through every single thing.

And I can't have a post without adorable here we go. The girls' classrooms had "Valentime's" Day parties, which they were so excited about. I took these pictures that night as they looked through their valentimes. (And yes, I am misspelling that wrong on purpose. That's how the girls say it.)

Anna making her duck face because her hand was wet from a lollipop. When she makes that face, which is quite often, I call her my baby duck. (She wore a jean skirt over her leggings for school.)




Allie refused to wear pink or red. And took off running when she saw the camera.

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Tracy said...

When I 1st decided to send the kids to preschool I had 4 babies under the age of two (one just a few months old) and was overwhelmed, so I decided to send the triplets 2 mornings a week. When Cody was 18 months, I felt guilty he wasn't going because the triplets were getting SOOOO much out of it, so he started going as well. My perspective TOTALLY changed and while it costs us a small fortune. It's the best money we could be spending. The kids know far more than they would know had they spent all the time at home with me.

Pictures are ADORABLE again!!!!

Chantel said...

From an educational standpoint, it is really recommended that kids have a year of preschool. The routine of a classroom, the structure, the peer interaction... all really help with that transition to kindergarten and what is expected of them. It is great exposure for the girls. I am excited for Claudia to go next year. She is pretty reserved. And even though she goes to daycare, there is just one or two kids her age there. And she has been with them since she was a baby.

Souza Sisters said...

Thank you for this post!! We are going to start looking at preschools for the girls to attend in the fall.

Your girls are so cute!! Love the side ponny tail!!

Sue said...

Great post! We're just starting to look at our options for our 2.5 year old daughter. She's in daycare now, which has a preschool program. I've been looking into alternatives, but so far can't find anything that works with 2 full time working parents. Its frustrating. She will probably end up staying at her current daycare because it will work the best for us.

Cindy said...

I sent my oldest to preschool and she got so much out of it that I know we will find the money to send my little ones. It is available to us (1/2 day sessions) 2 days/week at 3 or 3 days/week at 4. Even with that little exposure she blossomed.

Also, I am VERY familiar with the "days of the week" song. We all learned the version you know (clemenitne) but also to the tune of "The Addams Family". There's Sunday and there's Monday, there's Tuesday and there's Wednesday, there's Thursday and there's Friday and then there's Saturday. Days of the week (snap, snap) Days of the week (snap, snap). Yes, it's still in my head a few years later. At least it's cute.

I LOVE the pictures. Very precious. Your girls are so breath-takingly beautiful :)

Sarah said...

Thanks, everyone. Glad to hear others agree my thoughts.

Cindy - funny that there is another version of that song!

Summers Family said...

I think preschool is super important. In just those few hours away each week they learn so much. Not only academically but about themselves and their abilities away from mommy. My 4 year old is loving preschool right now. I think it was a big help for my Kindergartner as well.

Wendy said...

I have found the same about the girls school-- it is great for socialization, but they are really learning, too. Molly wrote her name just today, she learned how to say the letters yesterday. Every day they tell us something new and fun they did at school and I know, as much as I wish I could I couldn't provide that sort of environment for them at home. We pay a lot more than I was expecting to pay for school, but seeing how much they change and learn every day is worth it.
The days of the week song the girls sing has no recognizable tune, but I think I might sing them your Clementine tune :)