What is the difference between full-time and part-time preschool? For parents who work full-time or have other obligations, full-time preschool might be the only option. But for those with more flexibility, part-time might be a great choice. Here’s a breakdown on both kinds of preschool to help you decide what’s right for your child.
Finding the Best Preschool
The Ohio Department of Education offers parents and caregivers a few wonderful tools for this exciting journey. First, you can find a simple list of what every child needs in order to be successful in kindergarten on the department’s website. This list includes things like “using self control: keeping hands to self; sharing and taking turns.” This list would make an excellent check-list as you begin searching for the right preschool for your little one.
In addition, The Ohio Department of Education provides a treasure trove of early learning family resources. On their website, you can do everything from finding programs to finding out what your preschooler needs to eat in order to be healthy.
As you begin to create a list of potential preschool programs, it is a good idea to email the director to request a typical schedule, a general outline of the curriculum, and their idea of a successful preschool student. You can also request a tour. If possible, request a tour while school is in session.
What the Research Says
A new study out of University of Colorado, which is following elementary students who attended full-time and part-time preschool, has so far found that the students who attended full-time preschool are doing better in elementary school than their part-time peers.
Allison Atteberry, one of the co-authors of the study, said it is still too early to determine why the students are outperforming their part-time peers in early elementary, but she said it may not be the extra math and reading lessons. She suggested that a consistent and regular lunch and nap time may be the most important elements in their early learning advantage. She also said that it is yet to be determined if these students will continue to outperform their part-time peers as they grow.
This study has certainly gained the attention of educators and policy makers across the nation. There has been a push to make full day preschool more accessible. As any parent with a preschool-aged child knows, preschool is not as accessible as elementary education yet.
Oftentimes, parents are required to pay a hefty amount for a quality full-time early education, and for some parents, it doesn’t make sense to pay for full-time preschool.
What Part-time Preschool Parents Can Do
The research out of University of Colorado suggests that a regular and consistent schedule may be a game-changer. This means making sure a good lunch follows preschool pickup, along with a good nap.
Check out a few full day preschools to see what schedule the children follow. Your part-time preschooler may only be missing out on lunch, naptime, story time and outside recess. These are certainly things that you can provide your child at home.
Maybe the best thing that you can do before your child starts preschool is to talk with your family about the most important things that you want your child to learn during these few precious years before kindergarten. Maybe even sit down to create a vision board. Every family has different values and interests. With a little bit of planning, you can create a beautiful plan for what matters most.