Originally , updates by Courtenay W
It’s that time of year again. We all need to start the planning process for the 2009-10 Weekday School Year, like immediately! Most preschools start accepting applications in mid-January and mail out their acceptance letters in February/March. If you are a first-time stay-at-home mom and you have a child turning one year by the summer, then this applies to you. You are probably thinking to yourself, “you have to be kidding me! People actually send their children to school this young?” The answer is yes, especially in Charlotte. We stay-at-home moms need our personal time – ha, ha, just kidding! This is all for the benefit of our children and their enhanced education. Putting your child in preschool will actually help with his socialization skills, self-confidence and learning ability.
I remember when my neighbor told me about this Charlotte phenomenon and I was very skeptical. I was a new stay-at-home mom and this was my job to teach all of these things to my child, not to mention Ansley was all of nine months old when this process began! But I could run up and hug this neighbor every time I see her. This was the best decision I have made for her and I am doing the same with my other three children. They love school and we couldn’t be happier for a variety of reasons.
The most comprehensive directory of preschools in the Charlotte can currently be found at Charlotte Parent. One of the best resources for preschool recommendations is your friends. Find out where they have their children and why they like their preschool.
As you begin your search, I would recommend you start by looking at some of the weekday schools close by your home. There is something to be said about a neighborhood school, even at this young age. Plus, you don’t want to spend half of your free time driving to and from, which is usually a skimpy three hour stretch, max anyway. Make sure you interview the director, teachers and take a tour of the school. All of the schools will be happy to accommodate you and will look forward to the chance to sell their school to you. Make sure you inquire about licensing and rating information provided by the North Carolina Division of Child Development of the Department of Health and Human Services. Look at the teacher/student ratio and the curriculum. Many schools offer foreign languages which I think is huge. Most importantly, ask around. Ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. – word of mouth is one of the most important references you can get. Make sure you get on a few waiting lists because these schools fill up quickly. You may get in, but you have to be on the list.
Good luck! Feel free to help us out by adding your preschool, a blurb on why you like it and their web address. Thanks!
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Thanks for the link to the Directory – It’s extremely helpful!
Very timely post – my school is accepting applications for new families right now. Just to add on to what Jen wrote – preschool is not just for stay at home moms. Quite a few moms at my preschool also work – full or part-time. Combined with a babysitter, it is another good alternative if daycare doesn’t work for your family.
Weddington Church, just into Union County, is a great preschool. All three of mine have/will attend there. I hear they are on a waiting list, but it is much shorter than normal. And, often times, you luck out even if you are number 80 on the list! Worth getting you name on the list if you live in the area!
I have to admit I'm in the mom camp that has been extremely hesitant about sending my two year olds to pre-school at this age. Jen P encouraged me to just take tours and check some out and apply with the mindset that we may not get in anyway so what's the harm?! My husband travels and I don't have help during my SAHM day. While I long for personal time to work on CSP more or to just get a few "mom" errands done, the guilt of turning my twins over to a school this young outweighed my personal needs. That is until I took Jen & Jennys advice and simply took a tour yesterday of a pre-school. I was F-L-O-O-R-E-D at how much these kids are learning and how much really great stuff they are exposed to. I realized how enriching it would be for my kids, beyond what I can provide for them at home. And they both would benefit from the socialization. Both twins went with me & had a blast looking around, exploring and interacting with the other kids. When it was time to leave I literally had to carry Cannon out kicking & screaming, he did NOT want to leave. I quickly filled out my pre-school application yesterday and am now hoping we get in for Fall!! I'm a pre-school convert. And grateful for some good, Smarty girlfriend advice on this one.
Preschool is tough especially when you’re a stay-at-home mom. A part of you thinks this is “your job” but another part says you need some time for maybe part time work, errands, etc. What preschools offer that I can’t (or couldn’t afford ala cart) is music (Love Music Together, but it can get expensive), art (love Noah’s Art too, but again, $$) and other things like that–Plus, our kids get Chapel every week too since it’s Christian based. The socialization, different surroundings, etc., just made it the right thing for us to do with our kids.