I am on the look out for preschools for KB now (he is 29m now). The one good Montessori I like has a super long wait list. May get an afternoon slot in Sep 08 (KB turns three on Aug.3). I was thinking of getting him in some preschool when he is around 2.5yrs old. Mainly because I want him to get an opportunity to meet other kids and socialize and generally know what it means to do things at set times and the concept of "teacher" and so on.
The good schools are too expensive - anywhere from $550 to $670 per month just for three half days! I don't know what the chains charge - Mulberry kids type places - I don't think they are too much cheaper. I was told by several people to avoid these chains only because they have higher turn over of teachers and they shift students from class to class more often and kids tend to fall sick more. It seems incredible to spend that kind of money for your kid to just go and socialize (I mean this only for age 3). But I don't have too much choice - I don't have time to take KB out on play dates - the schedule just doesn't work out easily. I have to go in that tiny window of time when both kids are fed and have taken their naps and it has to be before baby girl's sleep time in the evening since she naps in the evening also. B comes home only around 8.00pm plus on most evenings. It is easier for me to drive the kids to some local shop or take them for a walk in the stroller than plan a play date with someone - just because I don't know exactly when I can make it.
My friend here says it is a waste of time to put them in preschool at age 3. In her experience, her child did not benefit at all that one year. She regrets having woken her up early in the morning to rush her to school and drag her second child for the drop off pick up. She says I would be better of waiting till KB is four - so he can have a relaxed life until then - wake up late and eat more peacefully/slowly. KB wakes up by 7.00 am anyway - so that may not be an issue. But the thought of rushing his meals and also dragging baby girl along just for the car ride is not appealing.
I cannot take KB to mommy and me classes now because I can't leave baby girl alone while I participate in the class (required). School is the only option.
All these thoughts going in a loop in my head. Is it worth it or not? Or is it best I put my effort into meeting with a couple of friends twice a week and just having KB play with his little sister rest of the time...take them to the library etc more often? Just for one more year. Money saved and less chance of falling sick most importantly. Even as I write this, I know I will be very nervous wondering if I am doing the right thing if I kept him home till he turned 4.
Just sharing my confusion with you - hopefully some of you will comment and tell me your perspective in this matter!