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US preschools

Old Oct 5th 2019, 9:22 pm
  #1  
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Default US preschools

Hi there,
We’re a young family preparing for a move to US (either NY or San Jose location tbd by my husband’s work). We have a 3 year old daughter who has just started in the nursery year at a private school in London, the school goes from 3-18 and if we were staying in London she would remain at that school at least until 11. The school is quite formal, she does full days, wears a uniform, they are learning to read and write, recognise numbers and shapes, count etc. as well as doing music, sports - a full school curriculum.

At this stage I’m not looking for specific preschool recommendations, just some guidance on what to expect from preschools and if I will be able to find anything remotely close to what she has in London. Impression I have from initial research is that preschools are less formal and most only offer half days. Our move will be for 3-4 years so we’ll need to reintegrate into UK system so I am concerned about her being behind her peers when she is around 7.
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Old Oct 5th 2019, 11:00 pm
  #2  
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Default Re: US preschools

Any major US city will have a lot of preschools, but it is possible that they will be oversubscribed. I don't know about New York or San Jose. Sometimes they are attached to a private school, but they are usually separate. You have to pay, and they can be pretty expensive.

It is very rare that preschools are open half-day only. Possibly you are thinking "kindergarten" (the US term for the first year of school) is a preschool? Some school districts do start kids off in kindergarten doing half-day only. The focus of preschools in the US is on providing childcare so that parents can go to work. In my experience in Houston, at least, standard opening hours for preschools are about 7am to about 6pm, with parents picking up and dropping off at whatever time fits with their working schedule. Remember, too, that most people in the US return to work very quickly after giving birth, so preschools look after some very young babies.

That's not to say that preschools in the US won't provide an education, they do. They definitely teach reading and writing, and do music and crafts, and play outside, but it will likely be less formalised than what you're used to. That said, I suspect most preschools in the UK are less formalised than that, too. You may actually be lucky and find somewhere more like what you describe.

You didn't ask about it specifically, but bear in mind that many private schools in the US have a different focus to the UK. There are some that are set up to provide a better general education than the local public school system (the equivalent to UK state schools), but many are there because parents want an education with a religious focus, which is not available in the public school system.
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Old Oct 6th 2019, 4:02 pm
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Default Re: US preschools

I can only speak for NYC. Preschools (as opposed to daycares) are usually half days. For ages 3, it's private and can be around 20K a year. Pre-K (age 4) is now free and available to all, but there is a lottery system and you could end up at one fairly far aware from your home. Reading and writing only really start in earnest in kindergarten - up to then, it's very much play-based, although they are usually taught shapes, numbers, letters etc. There are a couple of private British-type schools in Manhattan that are uniformed and probably more what you're used to in the UK.
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Old Oct 6th 2019, 11:32 pm
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Default Re: US preschools

Pre-schools are normally half days and many children are enrolled on a M-W-F or T-TH basis,

Kindergarten is the first year of the US public school system, and is separate from pre-school. Kindergarten is not a half-day.

The religious sector may have something that goes from pre-school all the way to Year 12, but the public system will not. Pre-schools are not a part of the public system.

If you are going to re-integrate into the UK system after three or four years and the child will still be quite young, I suggest you look for an International School. She won't "fall behind" in the US system but the sequencing etc of curriculum and so on can be quite different.
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