Is 2 better than 1?
August 23, 2013 11:30 AM   Subscribe

I'm considering sending my kid to 2 preschool programs. Is this insane?

One program, our "main" preschool, meets 2x/wk, 3.5 h each day, including lunch (no parents). We have friends there and are an established part of the community.

On a whim I am considering adding in another preschool program 2 different days of the week. This second one is 2 hours long but with no lunch (no parents). This program is less of a commitment; I would be signing up for 6 weeks at a time.

My kid is a well-adjusted, social, and active late 2-y-old (turns 3 early in this school year). I am a SAHM, working very part time freelance. Yes, I could definitely use this extra time to get stuff done, but I'm more concerned about whether this is tough on a kid or whether 2 more mornings of structure and socialization could be a good thing.

Is this not enough consistency for a typical 2-3 year old? Will it be awful for a preschooler trying to tell apart the rules, teachers, new friends? The child is currently not in any organized daycare or preschool program. Am I overthinking this?

Thanks in advance for your insight and advice.
posted by rabidsegue to Education (9 answers total)
So this assumes that the primary one can't offer you another day? Is it a matter of them not having a slot for your child on any other days? In other words, could they start and then be on a waiting list if a spot opens up on another day?

Since they've never been in daycare before, I do think it would be best to start at just one place. Is there a third option that gives you more hours and flexibility?
posted by dawkins_7 at 11:35 AM on August 23, 2013

Best answer: Here's one data point: we sent my son to two different preschool programs for a year and he was fine. He liked both sets of teachers and had two different sets of friends. He called the two programs by their different names and didn't seem to have any confusion or stress.
posted by Area Man at 11:36 AM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

So I was about to say: six weeks seems like a pretty reasonable trial period: long enough to get over initial adjustment jitters but not a huge commitment. You know your kid best. If you think he's up for it and you like the program, then I think you're overthinking it and you should give it a shot. Kids do all sorts of activities and don't generally seem confused by going from one to another.

Then I re-read this sentence from your question: "The child is currently not in any organized daycare or preschool program." My hunch is that it might well make sense to see how he does starting the "main" preschool and let him get used to that for a little while before introducing another one into the mix. If the transition is rough at the first preschool, you probably don't want to be committed to another one right away. I realize that you might need to make a commitment to secure a spot for him, but perhaps there's more flexibility with the waitlist/enrollment at the second program.
posted by zachlipton at 11:40 AM on August 23, 2013 [4 favorites]

Data point: Let's say there is preschool A and preschool B. I went to preschool A only, my brother went to both A and B, and my sister only went to B. We all turned out equally fine, and none of us were in day care before we started preschool.

Preschool B was also a Catholic preschool, and my family isn't Catholic, while A was secular. So there was a considerable lack of consistency, but I don't think my brother noticed it.
posted by obviousresistance at 12:09 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I did this with my daughter for two years because we loved the little co-op neighborhood program but it only offered 2 days a week, and not on the days I worked. So the days I worked she went to another program. She handled both fine even though they were run very differently by very different teachers with different rules and expectations. I felt that she was very well rounded and prepared for kindergarten when it was time.
posted by maxg94 at 12:53 PM on August 23, 2013

I've had similar considerations in the past with my kids. It depends on your kids. Mine would not do well with a change in routine like that. Some people's kids do just fine. I instead used preschool plus a nanny. But then the nanny would get sick or flake out. So if preschool is stable for you and it runs through the summer, go with that. But can you find a 5-day preschool? Can you afford to pay for f/t daycare and just use the days you need? Or do daycare a couple of days a week? I am not sure I would have made the preschool decision if I had realized the opportunities for p/t and f/t daycare, although then it's all on you to make sure they are ready for kindergarten.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 5:16 PM on August 23, 2013

My daughter went to two preschools: one two or three times a week (co-op) and another one twice a week (outdoor). She loved them both, and never was confused by being in two schools with some overlap of students.

That said, they were very different schools -- one was inside, one was outside; one had lots of parents, one had just one teacher -- so it would've been odd if she'd confused them.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:57 AM on August 24, 2013

On, and more anecdotes: I've known a lot of preschoolers who went to more than one preschool. Our main preschool was the co-op one, and I knew kids from there who went to the outdoor preschool, to a religious preschool, to a Chinese preschool, etc. on days when they weren't at the co-op.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:00 AM on August 24, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all for your insight. We are going to try it out and quit or not renew if its a bad fit or too much to handle. All of your answers were really a big help.
posted by rabidsegue at 7:15 PM on August 27, 2013

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