Overcast   62.0F  |  Forecast »

Preschool Decision: Guide to Picking the Right One for Your Child

Should you pick a cooperative, childcare-based, church-affiliated, Montessori or school district affiliated program? Get a bit of insight.

(page 1 of 2)

Shopping for a preschool is not exactly like buying a burger. Curriculum is one factor – and, perhaps even more so, the staff and philosophy. What parent wouldn't want a welcoming environment where classroom instructors treat their young students with respect and nurture their unique differences?

Well, with all of the options available in southeast Michigan, you still may be able to have it "your way." Whether you're looking for a preschool that encourages more parent involvement, one that offers before- and after-school care or one centered on religious instruction, there's a preschool out there for your child.

Cooperative preschools

Cooperative preschools, or co-ops, are preschools that have traditionally required a high level of parent involvement. Parents help in the classroom, serve on the board and are assigned specific tasks or jobs that support the day-to-day running of the classroom. For example, a parent may be asked to take home towels to wash or make Play-Doh at home for the children to use in the classroom.

However, with today's busy schedules, many co-ops have adapted by relaxing some of their requirements. At the nonprofit Mayfair Co-op Preschool in Farmington Hills, for example, parents are assigned a year-long task that can be as involved as board membership – or more behind-the-scenes, at-home work.

Parents choose from an application that lists all the jobs and what they entail, explains assistant teacher Fran Brown.

"We always make sure to try to give them their top options," Brown says. "We try our best make everybody happy." The involvement is the selling point, says Brown – herself a mom of two, including a son who participated in the 4s program.

"I really fell in love," Brown says. "It's such a self-esteem booster for children to have their parents involved. I think the kids really feel the pride."

Weekly summer play dates keep that going. "You're staying involved for the entire year," Brown says. Even her son, who's now in full-time kindergarten, still goes to the play times to catch up with is pals. "It's really a lifelong friendship that you're making."

Because of the high level of parental involvement, the adult/child ratio at Mayfair is about 1-to-4 or 2-to-7, so parents know their child is getting a lot of attention. Its curriculum is focused on learning through play – and centered on social, emotional, physical and cognitive development.

Tuition at Mayfair is on par with similar programs in the area. To keep tuition low, fundraising is required. There's also a $150 fundraising goal per family per year. There are a variety of options, from pizza kits to bowling nights to a silent auction – or parents can opt to write a flat-rate check.

Visit the Greater Detroit Cooperative Nursery Council directory to find an option near you.

Childcare center preschools

Due to long work schedules and commutes, many parents require a full-day program with wrap-around childcare. Childcare centers are often the perfect choice for such families.

The Goddard School for Early Childhood Development – which has local schools in Canton, Lake Orion and Macomb – has programs serving kids from infant to school age (about 6 weeks old to about 5 old; may vary by location).

Here, the programs aim to create "confident, joyful and fully prepared students," Goddard's website notes. Preschoolers' development is fostered in learning centers for math, science, dramatic play, music, creative art and computers; kids experience fitness, art history and manners, too.

Tuition rates tend to be competitive in the preschool/early childhood development center market.

Church-affiliated preschools

Like childcare centers, church-affiliated preschools vary from program to program as to curriculum and level of parent involvement, as well as the level of religious education introduced into the classroom.

First Steps Preschool is an outreach ministry of the First United Methodist Church of Brighton.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Michigan Education Improves, Poverty Grows, Kids Count Says

Michigan Education Improves, Poverty Grows, Kids Count Says

The 2014 Annie E. Casey Foundation study finds promising trends for preschool attendance and high-school graduation, but notes struggles with child poverty.

Zucchini Recipes: Ways to Incorporate Veggies Into Your Diet

Zucchini Recipes: Ways to Incorporate Veggies Into Your Diet

Is your garden overflowing with this vegetable? Try making cheesy zucchini bites, zucchini fries or any of these recipes.

Beach Towel and Picnic Blanket Caddy Craft

Beach Towel and Picnic Blanket Caddy Craft

Looking for an easy, compact way to tote those summer necessities? You're in luck! This simple sewing project makes carting your fabric accessories a breeze.

Socialite Returns Adopted Child to Orphanage for Crying

Socialite Returns Adopted Child to Orphanage for Crying

After only one night in, Romanian socialite Monica Gabor took her adopted son back to the orphanage because the child was too distressed.

Medication Mistakes Common and Dangerous, New Study Finds

Medication Mistakes Common and Dangerous, New Study Finds

Recent findings published in Pediatrics show that nearly 40 percent of parents make measuring errors for their kid's medicine. Why is this happening and what can you do to prevent it?

Craft Roundup: Fun Summer Projects for Kids

Craft Roundup: Fun Summer Projects for Kids

Beat vacation boredom with these four cool ideas from blogs, including Popsicle holders, printable sewing cards, jellyfish handprint bookmarks and more.

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

5 Tips to Get Your Kids Interested in Cooking

From picking out ingredients to concocting their own culinary creations, here are a few ways to encourage your children to help out in the kitchen.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement