Today was my 2yr old's first day at Preschool (it's the summer camp program, but he's registered for fall there too). Since I've been a SAHM with him since birth, I wanted to help ease him into preschool, and decided to stay the whole day (he goes from 9-1245). I also wanted to observe the "teachers" and see how things went. Boy, am I glad I did. It was AWFUL. There was practically no interaction with the kids, no organized activities, no structure, no disciplining....nothing. The kids were just basically left to their own devices all day long. Nothing like what we saw on our tour of the school, and NOTHING even close to what I expected. There were things I saw that were just so so sad and so awful....I could never imagine leaving him there alone. Had I not of been there, my son would've barely been spoken to all day. I'm going to talk to the director tomorrow and see about trying another class, but I can't imagine if thing would really be that much better. I'm assuming we'll probably end up pulling him from this program and school, which means I need to look elsewhere.
Does anyone have any recommendations for a GREAT preschool? Somewhere that is interactive and loving, and actually helps to teach the children. I'm honestly so upset about this right now, that I just want to give up and keep him home with me, but I don't want to deny him an opportunity to learn and socialize, because he really enjoys being around other kids so much.
Thanks in advance, Mommies!
Wendy - I'm about to enroll my daughter in preschool this September when she turns 2 and while this will be my first experience with preschool, I am an aunt to 2 nephews & 2 nieces and have heard about all the adventures in preschools, daycares and the like. I don't think you are expecting too much by any means. While the school I'm enrolling my daughter in is Montessori & they believe in letting kids explore and learn on their own, it's still guided to some extent. They have circle time and music and various activities that they do throughout the day. They do allow the children to explore during set times of the day and encourage them to do things that they enjoy so that learning is fun for them but they don't just leave the children to their own devices. From stories from both of my sisters, there have always been organized activities mixed with free time & exploration. I'm so sorry that you've had this experience but I would definitely encourage you to check out other schools. After hearing your story it has made me that much more confident about my decision to enroll my daughter at Rancho Viejo Montessori.
The director of RVM is the owner and is almost always available IMMEDIATELY. I have only spoken to 2 other people on the numerous occasions that I have called and have only dealt with her when I've visited. She sits at the front desk and is usually the one to answer the phones and greet the parents & children at drop off & pick up.
I know they aren't close to you but it might be worth looking into if you don't find one closer to you.
I have heard so many moms rave about the JCC in Irvine. That's unfortunate that you had the experience!
Just echoing what other moms have said about your expectations not being too high-
The girls I nannied for 2 years went to Lil Lighthouse in Costa Mesa and it was a wonderful school, not at all like a daycare. I would do pick ups/drop off and go to the classrooms for birthdays/Thanksgiving stuff and on a couple of field trips. The teachers are all friendly/engaged and there wasn't turnover in the 2 years I was familiar with it. I know that preschool is not about academics, but I felt that the school balanced play and learning, and the girls learned a lot. One of the girls was reading sight words and could tell time when she went into kindergarten (after being at the preschool for 3 years). Again, I know preschool is not about that, but she was interested to learn and the school provided her with that stimulation that she wanted/needed. The director was at every pick up/drop off and said goodbye and hello to every child as they walked in. It was by no means the "perfect" school- sometimes they would change the times of classes for field trips or cancel class on the day of a performance by the kids in the evening, but other than that the moms I knew had no complaints at all and I am going to base my expectations of a preschool on the standard that they set. There was a lot of circle time activities and crafts and reading. It is a Christian school, and I know a lot of moms who actually don't want that, so I thought I'd add that it definitely is heavily religious based.
By contrast, I know my niece LOVED her preschool, and it was definitely more play-based and much less-structured, but that was perfect for HER and my sister was happy with that... There is such a wide variation in preschools..
Hi ladies -
Can you help us out? We are looking for parents who have had/have a child in a nursery/preschool and live in Orange County to take a short (5-10 min) survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/66HLQBY
The results will be posted here on O.C. Mommies to help other parents find a quality program for their child. Thanks in advance for your help!
Hi - I feel horrible for what has happend for your first experience in a preschool. I'm a SAHM and my daughter just started preschool this September. I made sure to evaluate a school where I'm welcome to walkin at any given time. CDC of Irvine Valley College has a huge "Observation Room with sound system tuned into the classrooms. I literally stayed in that room for the first few days observing my daughter and the teachers. I'm extremely happy with this preschool and I HIGHLY suggest that you check out. Child Development Center a preschool located in the corner parking lot of Irvine Valley College, (Irvine Center Drive/Jeffrey). It's an amazing preschool with very caring teachers and staff. I just attended this week "Parent Meeting" they gave me a full assessment of my daughter. I cannot emphasize just how caring the teachers are and attentive.
I love that the rooms are HUGE they are all triple the size of every preschool I have visit in Irvine, and the playgrounds are completely shaded which is great for the summer months. Also this was one of the CLEANEST preschool's I have seen because the janitorial from College scrubs it down every night. They have one playground for trikes, bikes only and they have over a dozen bikes for the kiddos'... They do require that your child is potty trained and, if I'm not mistaken they take them as early as 2 years or 2.5, I don't recall.
Best of luck. Michelle.
5500 Irvine Center Dr. CDC 100