Splitting time between 2 preschools?
For various reasons, my 3-year-old son has been attending a preschool near our house with kids he's known for a long time. This preschool is not great for our schedules, as they are closed for 4 weeks during the summer, 2 weeks in Dec, and 2 additional weeks in late winter and spring. (They follow the school calendar, so their core year is really Aug - June, with an abbreviated summer program.) The hours are also more limited and cater better towards part-timers. On the positive side, my sone likes the program - there are fairly frequent field trips, performances 3 times a year, lots of learning, and a good bunch of kids.
For the summer, we are trying a year-round mandarin immersion program to see how he likes it. Good quality program, better for our schedule, but an entirely different group of kids.
Going into the fall, we are not sure yet what we'll do. If my son misses his friends and wants to go back to the other school, I was thinking we could try splitting time between the two schools? I like the exposure to mandarin, and I think immersion is the way to go for that, but I don't want to take him away entirely from his friends either. Is it a bad idea to go M/W/F at one school and T/Thu at the other? I've read online that kids going just 2 days a week have a harder time adjusting to the social environment. Have any of you tried splitting time?
Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
It may be no big deal for him. My mother-in-law lived with us from before my son was born until he was about three, and I was worried that it would be a wrench for him when she moved out. A couple weeks after she moved out, I asked him if he missed having her live with us, and he barely even remembered that she used to live with us. So however much he likes his friends at the current school, assuming he likes the new place he might not miss the old place at all.
We split preschools for all three of our kids (MWF at one school, TTh at the other).
We found this was more difficult for our older son, who has a trickier temperament and doesn't handle transitions very well. He had a clear preference for one of the schools and would complain and behave poorly at the one he didn't like.
Our twins, on the other hand, have had no problem splitting schools. I'm sure a big factor is they have each other for support. But they also have easier temperaments and are more adaptable.
Both schools have similar philosophies (play-based, relatively unstructured) and approaches to discipline. I think splitting schools would be more difficult if the two programs have very different approaches.
May 3, 2012
One thought on the immersion part - my son is in an immersion preschool class this year. We went into thinking we'd do what we'd done previous years and pull him out one day a week for a nature / hiking class - it sort of felt like a good balance to us, and he loves the hiking class.
A few months into the school year, the language immersion teachers suggested that he not miss school so much - partly for social/emotional reasons, they noticed Fridays after the hiking class seemed to be like Mondays for my son, hard to re-engage again; and partly for language reasons, he was new to the language, and missing 20% of the language instruction was causing his comprehension to continue to lag behind the other kids.
This may be like the previous poster's issue with his oldest son - if my son wasn't having trouble making friends, feeling comfortable, if there were no problems, I'm guessing the teachers wouldn't have said anything. It's hard to leave old friends, a comfortable and happy environment, but one thing to consider is that if the new environment is going to be a success, a more both-feet-in approach might be helpful - perhaps the initial transition (which might be hard) will be shorter. My son is happier in the immersion class now than at the beginning of the school year - has a couple of go-to friends (social was more challenging than language for him) - and we learned a thing or two ourselves.
May 4, 2012