Here's the Tiny Empress snacking away on her Valentine's Day lunch at Pre-school. Which is what I need some help with (pre-school, not lunch) from those of you out there who have done this, or are doing it now.
The time has come for us to pre-register for pre-school next year which has left Jeff & I with something of a dilemma: 5 half-days or 3 full days?? Currently, Ten goes 3 half-days...but next year we start gearing up for Kindergarten...so which will do her (and me) more good?
Factors to consider:
Cost The difference in cost between 3 full & 5 half is only $10 so cost is not really a consideration - except that it obviously costs more per hour for a half day than a full.
Academics According to her teacher, academically 5 half is better, because there is only 1 session (everyone starts in the morning, no one starts in the afternoon) the academics are all in the morning- after nap it's more art, story time, and play- not that there isn't educational value in that too.
Stamina Public school Kindergarten is usually a half-day. Private school Kindergarten is usually a full day. If she stays at this school for Kindergarten, she has the option of 5 days at 5.5 hours or 10 hours. Will she build enough stamina and gain enough focus from 3 full days to transition into 5 days of harder work?
Time The full day option is really meant for parents who hold a full-time job- it provides roughly 12 hours of child-care. We'd never use the 12 hrs. The earliest I'd take her is 8, and I'd probably pick her up by 4 (unless I was working). We can extend her 1/2 day...for $6 an hour...but that adds up very quickly- for an extra 3 hours daily you'd end up paying more than if you put her in full time!
Mom If I get Ten to school on time and I pick her up right at time I net about 3 hours of personal time per school day. This is enough time to maybe do some errands or housework or go to the gym or sneak in a nap if I'm sick or breakfast with a friend/get facial/shop for self. I can't go far, and I can't work. 5 half days would allow me to spread the necessary things out so I could work in a little more me time- but I still couldn't go anywhere far or work....and I still have Ten at home every afternoon. 3 full days would let me hold either a 2nd part-time job, work lunch shifts at El Torito or do office temp work...but I still have 2 full days at home with Ten.
This is a tough decision. I see merit for both options, and both will force Ten to adapt to a different schedule and learn to be independent. Both benefit me too- just in different ways. Any comments or advice from those who have done it or are doing this now will be a huge help!!