We finally made what was an agonizing decision for us (me). Whether to send Emma back to the same preschool as last year or enroll her in the school based preschool (which is basically funded by Head Start). These are the only options in the county. It's the difference between going to school two half days a week or five full days. What nudged us toward school-based preschool was finding out that nearly none of her friends were returning to the church preschool and she'd be way older than the new kids. I also want her to be challenged this year and not be bored out of her skull.
Emma missed the cutoff for kindergarten by nine days. I'd say she was ready, but the school system is very strict about their cutoffs. One concern I have about school-based preschool is that it is still basically Head Start. That means it's meant to help kids who aren't learning their ABC's, colors, shapes, numbers, etc. at home. Emma has all of these nailed. Does this program have anything to offer her? At the preschool screening they tried to persuade me that they do give individual attention to kids on their level.
Finally, I was concerned about how much they want to be all in your business, with it being a federal program. This concern was definitely legitimate. When we decided to enroll Emma in the program this is what we had to provide:
Copy of birth certificate
Copy of Social Security card
Copy of Insurance card
Proof of Dental appointment
Proof of Physician's physical
Proof of income (Income tax form)
Proof of residency (electric bill)
Then they want to do a home visit too. I think we'll be avoiding that one as I know the Family Advocate and she wants to do the visit in town instead. I've filled out a pile of forms, still have a behavioral assessment to do on Emma, and one more "interview" with the Advocate. Whew!
This will definitely be a big change for our family. We'll drive Emma to school and she'll ride the bus to the store after school (1/2 mile). Because we didn't know we'd be going this route we'd committed to a Disney trip that will mean Emma will miss her orientation and the first two days of school. Oops. The Family Advocate said she'd do all she could to help Emma get started and blend in easily when she gets there. I sure hope so.