American pre-school(9 Posts)
We are relocating to Texas in a couple of weeks for OH's job. DS turns 3 in July and DD is 1. In the UK DS would start pre-school in September for 15 hours per week and it would be free (government funded hours). I'm a SAHM but would have sent him in order that DD and I get some 1:1 time and also because he has never been in that type of setting, has always been at home with me and I think it would do him good in helping prepare him for school in September 2016. My question is, what happens in the U.S.? Does the school year start in September? When would my DS start school in the U.S.? I've no idea what to do or where to start with regards to this! Thanks for any advice.
in general, school year starts between mid august and beginning of september, nothing is free until they start school at the age of 5. Pre-schools tend to run throughout the summer with maybe a week off and are all private
This is a massive generalisation, things change state to state and I'm sure somewhere there's a free preschool from the age of dot but certainly not where I live (LA)
I'd concentrate on getting there and getting settled and scouting around your local area once you're there, no rush as DS won't be starting school for donkey's years yet! But assume you will be paying for any time you put him in for
Where are you moving to in Texas? My kids are older but I'm in houston and have friends with little ones in (paid) pre schools. They also have stuff like moms day out at churches etc where you can pay for a morning or two a week of childcare on an ad hoc basis. If you are coming to Houston and want any recommendations, let me know.
We have free preschool in certain towns here in New Jersey and it's free in all school districts in NJ if your child is coming from the early intervention program. They use tools of the mind as their curriculum here in Hoboken and I think it's an excellent program.
I would highly recommend doing prek3 and prek4. If no public provision there is lots of private options. The YMCA normally have good programs that are more affordable. Also look at coop programs. It's much cheaper but you are required to be involved. Not a bad thing if you are new to the area.
ATB - we have free prek 3 & prek 4 here in hoboken and they do an affordable summer camp too. We are so darn lucky. We are paying $650 for 3 weeks of camp from 8:30-2:30. Full day program is 7:30-530 and costs $350 a week. Dd is super excited about going on the school bus twice a week to go swimming in the high school pool!
NYC also have free prek programs that I have seen advertised on the subway.
you are very lucky with the free preschool that's for sure. Summer Camp is so so expensive - sounds like you're paying similar prices to us. Only the YMCA is a reasonable amount at $150 a week
We're in Oklahoma, where there is statewide pre-k program in public schools for children who are 4 at the start of the academic year (2nd week of August). Our DCs (4 and 2) go to a small private preschool at a local church, which runs a "mother's day out" for 6 months to 2, a preschool for 3-4 year olds and a pre-k program. 4 YO DS will be staying there for his pre-k year for convenience and because OK public schools are mostly rubbish. His preschool ran 3 days a week from 9 - 2.30 and he'll do 4 days a week from next month. 2 YO DD also goes to the MDO one day a week to give me some breathing space
I struggled to find a suitable place at first because lots of places here operate mostly as "daycare" for preschool children so don't take them on a part time basis. Definitely look at church run programs (even if you're not religious!) and "mother's day outs" which can be ad hoc or enrolled for regular attendance, depending on demand. I recommend just talking to any parents you happen to meet with similar aged kids, at the park or library or wherever! Southerners are extemely friendly and polite, and in my experience are intrigued by a British accent in their midst so are keen to chat. I found out about our preschool from a mother at the local library, who I got talking to while our small boys were fighting over toy trains.
I think fees are cheap, but London nursery prices are still fresh in my memory! DS's summer program (3 days a week, 9-2.30) costs $130 a week.
We were in Sugarland TX a few years ago, and our lovely neighbours helped us to get a place at their church pre-school for our two year old. From what I remember it was two days a week and ran from 9.30am to 2pm, and fees were about $120 per month (but it was a while ago). My MIL, who was a primary school teacher, visited and marveled at all the resources poured into it, and DS had a fab time there.
Whilst it was part of the baptist church, it wasn't particularly religious at that stage - the only thing I noticed was that Halloween became autumn festival.
Neighbours and other mums will be a wealth of information, and we found that they were very welcoming to Brits.
Agreed with previous posters above: your best bet for free (kind of) childcare is the Y which you can join as a family and they will do drop-in childcare for a couple of hours a day included with the cost of your membership. (It's a community gym and health club with swimming pool in the US, by the way, not some kind of disco as I confusedly first thought due to the popular song when my US friends told me to join the YMCA )
After that, your best options for low-cost childcare are church-run programs which tend to be about half the cost of a regular private preschool. If you want to avoid the church stuff then your options are limited if cost is an object unless your state runs local free programs and you usually have to qualify for those based on a low household income.
If it helps for perspective, we are in CA and paid $750 per month last year for 3 half-days, 9-12:30pm, per week of childcare for our 2-going-on-3 year old. That goes up to $1,200 in the new school year as we are putting him in for 3 full days a week once he turns 4. Good thing salaries around here are a lot better than in the UK!
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