I need some help/advice:
DS was born December 8th - right after the Dec 1st cut-off in New York State. At 2years-9 months, he started Montessori half-day preschool at a local Catholic school. He has flourished there. We love his teachers. The head teacher even agreed that he would be ready for a full-day Montessori experience in her classroom in the fall. With a new baby coming in June, this was an idyllic situation for us.
Then this week I had the rug pulled out from us. The head teacher called me at home to say that the Catholic school has not been supportive of her educational philosophies and that she was tendering her resignation on Monday. The assistant teacher would also be doing the same, and the two will be moving to an early childhood center literally right across the street from our house come the fall. They will both stay the remainder of the school year, but all the Montessori materials in the room are their property, not the school's, and that for next year the school will just try to shift all the remaining Montessori families into the traditional preK rooms next door.
I am not thrilled with the Catholic school in general beyond the Montessori class, so we knew we would not be staying long-term. We are happy to follow our beloved teachers to their new site, but there is one problem: we need a full-day pre-K option since we will have a new baby, and the site doesn't have its full-day license next year. In NYS, it takes 210 days to gain the full-day childcare license, so next school year is up in the air for us.
Since DS is December 8th, he is still not going to be eligible for universal pre-K for 2013-2014, so we need to find another school that has voluntary preK for his age, level, and is full-day. (Sorry if I'm being redundant!)
That being said, there is another Catholic school on the opposite corner as the Catholic all-girls high school where I teach. (I live 30 minutes from where I teach.) Several faculty/staff have their children in the preK there, and they offer full-day for PreK3 and PreK4. One of them kindly wrote an email introducing me to the principal, who responded (even though they are on break this week). The principal replied and said DS was only eligible for the PreK3 program since he was after the cut-off date.
DS uses vocabulary words like clumsy, commotion, definitely, actually, etc. He knows how to sit at circle, stand in a line to walk to specials, and has been potty trained since he was 2. I'm worried that moving from a mixed-age classroom to one with 3-year olds that may not have been in any kind of day care or preschool situation will render him bored, disengaged, unhappy - or worse - acting out because he is not stimulated enough. I've asked the principal to have my son evaluated for the PreK4, and she pushed back about the DOB issue.
There are very few alternative options for us, because of location, schedule (full-day), and DS's age. We know he will spend 3 years in preschool before kindergarten because we eventually want him on the older end of things than the younger when he gets to K/1st, but for next year I feel a crunch to find something and an option that will allow him to continue to flourish and develop the foundational skills for reading, writing, and math success later. I know I probably sound like a crazy person, but this is just one of those "I want to do what's best for my child" crises, and spots in preK fill up fast so there is a time element here (not to mention I'm 7 months pregnant too!).
The pregnancy hormones are not helping me out here, and DH puts his hands up in the air and tells me that since I'm the educator, this is my realm of expertise, but that doesn't mean I know what we should do in every circumstance!
Here are my questions for you wonderful people:
- If this was your situation - what would you do?
- What have you done?
- Moms of babies right-after-the-cut off dates?
- Moms of traditional preschool settings - what have your experiences been?
- Montessori moms - ever had to shift your child into a traditional pre-k?
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thanks in advance for your responses!