I wasn't expecting to have to deal with the whole "preschool issue" as early as I did, but now that we're a couple of months in, I thought I would share how we dealt with that stressful experience.
Thatbaby's daycare is divided into 3 rooms/age groups. There is the infant room, which holds children between the ages of 6 weeks and 1 year. The wobbler room is a transitionary room for kids between 12 and 18 months. The toddler room is from 18-30 months.
When Thatbaby turned 18months in April, he moved into the toddler room. At the time, all but 2 of the kids were already 2. As the approached 2 1/2, they started moving out of the room and into preschools. By July, Thatbaby and his October-born classmates were the oldest kids in the room. In August, they began moving the new group of 18-monthers into the room, and in September they started talking to us about where we were going to send our kids when they turned 2.
When they turned 2????? Based on the earlier class, I figured I had at least 6 months to worry about that after he turned 2. But the difference here was, there weren't any 18monthers when the class before him turned 2. So they were all developmentally on the same page. His teacher informed me that with such a large group of 18monthers, and such a small group of 2year olds, that the older kids often start regressing. Thatbaby was welcome to stay, but it might be better for him to move along.
And so, we the parents of the 6 October-born babies started discussing preschools in earnest. In our area, there are three preschools that accept kids in the middle of the "school year." The October babes seemed to be evenly divided between 2 of those schools.
School #1 - The school that was connected to our daycare. The pros of this school were that transition would be easy, since it was on the same campus, and they would bring the kids over to the preschool before the move to get to know the teachers and other students. Some of the kids who had moved in June would be in his class. We also love the teaching method the school used. And the preschool was significantly cheaper than School #2. The cons of the school were that it ran on a school calendar, which meant a lot of "holidays" and "vacations" for which we would need to find secondary care. And it still closed at 5:30pm.
School #2 - Part of a national chain that gets rave reviews. The pros of this school were that it was open later, and only was closed on holidays Thatboy or I would already have off. The cons were that transition would be more difficult and it was much more expensive.
In the end, we decided to stay at school 1. I obviously can't compare it to school 2, but so far we're happy. The transition was seamless. The teachers are wonderful. Thatbaby doesn't ever want to leave at the end of the day. The curriculum is fun for him and he enjoys his trips to the library, music and art classes. And I think he's going to have a lot of fun during "winter camp" which takes place over the school's winter break. Right now our biggest issue involves a biting problem - and I'll fill you in on that once we get it under control!