Last year we moved to our new town shortly before my oldest son would have started his first year of preschool. I was panicked that we wouldn’t be able to get into any school that we could afford. After all, I am a stay-at-home mom now and we didn’t have that extra income I earned from teaching anymore. I was so afraid that we would settle on a cheap preschool and my son wouldn’t get the full preschool experience with great teachers that he would receive if we would just send him to a more expensive school. I wasn’t worried at all about the academic’s of preschool; I wasn’t sending him to preschool for the curriculum. Funny thing for a teacher to say, isn’t it? I actually see preschool more as a place for young children to learn what happens at a school and to socialize with other children.
Regardless of my worries, I called several preschools before our move and of course, none had any openings. Every school said they would call if something opened up. We really were lucky. The day after we moved in, we got a phone call from a church preschool here in our town. It was also the cheapest one. I began to worry. If it was the cheapest one, the teacher’s wouldn’t be paid much, so they probably weren’t very good. I know preschool teacher’s don’t have to be certified teachers, so I began to worry who would want to work for eight dollars an hour teaching a group of three year olds! I wasn’t so sure about this school at all. However, because I was desperate, I went to check it out. I wanted my son in school, and if I had to settle on a not-so-good school for a year, then so be it.
I walked into the small area of classrooms and met three of the smiling teachers. I walked into what would be my son’s classroom and was instantly captivated by his teacher, his classroom and all the bright and welcoming decorations. There were learning centers, a huge play area (which totally sealed the deal, I am a firm believer in learning by play) and a great circle area for sharing and learning new things. So, the judgmental teacher in me was hooked. I instantly felt guilty for even thinking that a cheaper preschool couldn’t possibly be as a good as a more expensive one. I could tell my son’s teacher put her heart and soul into her classroom and her teaching. This still amazes me, because preschool teachers aren’t paid well, and they definitely should be.
My son completed his first year of preschool at that school I was so apprehensive about. He starts his second year in another month. My youngest son will go there next year. This is how happy I am with this school. So, I offer this advice to you if you are searching for a preschool. Check out all of the preschools in your area. Don’t rule it out if it is the cheapest one. Don’t judge it until you see it. That cheaper school could end up being the best fit for your child and for you! Just consider yourself lucky that you are getting a great preschool experience for your child at an even better price!