Ask the Mamas: Choosing a School

Each week we will ask our mamas a question from our readers that pertains to babies, toddlers, or parenting. Make sure to check back each Tuesday to see their responses!

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Mama Say What?! reader Katie B. asks: “How did you decide what type of school to send (your pre-k or school aged) child to?”

Our son started preschool this past fall (a couple of months before his fourth birthday) and when it came to choosing a school, we preferred a school that was just a school and not a day care center as well. Aside from that, we toured a handful of local schools and went with the place where our son seemed the most comfortable and we were happy with how they operate. I didn’t want a preschool that really pushed the kids into reading at such a young age. The school we chose ended up being an affordable Montessori school that’s right down the street from our house. TJ warmed to the place immediately and wasn’t the least bit shy when meeting the director. So far he adores it. ~Alex T. 

Our little guy is three and our decision was very easy to make. He has autism, and a preschool program seemed appropriate for him this year. His birthday is also two weeks past the December 1st cutoff for school in the state of New York, so he’ll have an extra year of preschool before starting kindergarten. He’s receiving speech, special-ed, OT, PT and music therapy at his public preschool and doing very well so far. I’m a public-school teacher myself, so I’m partial to our school systems. I know when my boys reach elementary school, they’ll be attending our local public schools as well. Even though B was on the earlier side when he began school, we knew keeping him in daycare for another full year (where there would only be one other child in his age group and also autistic) wouldn’t be as beneficial to him. ~Mary Ellen M.

With my seven-year-old coming from a split family, I don’t get 100% say in where she goes. As long as we both agree that she is in a good and safe environment then she will go to public schools. We live in a smaller farming town and although our school system is not the highest ranking, I am happy with it and really like most of the teachers. As far as where my second daughter will go to preschool, I’m just beginning to look into it. There are a few factors for us. I am a full-time student and will be in the nursing program when L starts preschool, so I would prefer that they have also have a daycare in case we need to use it. Also being a full-time student means that I don’t have a lot of money to spend, so we will try and find one that is within our budget that we are comfortable sending our little one to. ~Miriam R.

My daughter is not in preschool yet, but I have started to look around a bit. A big factor will come down to cost. The one preschool I really like is way out of our price range, at about $1000 a month. We are a single income family and that is just not doable. We would prefer a secular school for our kids. ~Jessica S.

When we bought our house, we bought in a school district that has very good public schools (there are very few private schools in my area). The school system is one of the main reasons we picked the area we moved to. It is ranked very high in the state academically, and has great athletic and non-athletic programs. P is currently in a three-year-old program and when we were looking for a preschool, we could send him to one in the town where we live, where he will be attending school, or one in the town where I work. We chose to send him where we live so he would be able to make friends with the kids he would be going to school with later on. We researched the choices and asked for recommendations from friends and family. I toured the one we had picked and met the director and teachers. ~Amanda P.

How did you choose your child’s school?

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