Dear PoPville – Preschools for the littlest ones?

Photo by PoPville flickr user pablo.raw

“Dear PoPville,

I am a Petworth resident with a 1.5 year old. I read the post from Feb 14 about schools in PoPville with considerable interest. It seems like there are more decent options for public and charter schools nearby than I had originally thought. However, I am interested in starting my son in a preschool program at 2.5 years and it looks like the public/charter school options only start at 3 years. I’d love for some more input from PoPville on nearby preschool options for 2.5 year olds. What schools do people like? How expensive are the programs? How is the transition from a private preschool to public/charter schools?”

27 Comment

  • Isn’t it called daycare at that age?

    We’ve been very pleased with the Barnard PS-3 program.

  • I’ve heard good things about Rosemount Center. That is Mt. Pleasant so it may not be handy enought

  • Explain to me why a 2.5 year old needs to be in school? Can’t we just let the toodlers be toodlers?

    • I started pre-school at 2. It was in Japan and we went full day 6 days a week (very strict and super traditional). I didn’t start going full-time in the American system till I was six, three years after leaving Japan. Any wonder why the U.S. scores low in global educational surveys?
      Start school early, a little learning never hurt anyone, and its not like they are doing calculus.
      Congrats OP on being a good parent.

      • Except Sweden starts school later and compares favorably in school performance. it ain’t the age you start its what you do when you get there that is important!

    • As the parent of a 2 1/2 year old, what exactly do you think they do in preschool? It’s not rote instruction. 90% is learning how to socialize with peers and adults outside the immediate family. The fact that they learn things like letter and number is a bonus. But, once you have a “toodler” feel free to just keep them in the house all day watching Elmo.

    • Our daughter was looked after by my mother for the first 2.5 years of her life while we worked. It worked out great up till that point, but at around 2.5 she really, really needed socialization–aside from a over-indulgent grandmother. A 2.5 year old isn’t a toddler anymore.

      • me

        A 2.5-year-old isn’t a toddler anymore? That’s pretty much the definition of a toddler.

        • While you’re right, most people think of 2.5 year olds as “toddlers”, that’s a bit of a misperception. Kids start walking at around 1. Believe me, you must not know many two-and-a-half year olds if you think they’re “toddlers”. Their biggest need at that point is socialization…

  • Just a quick response about Rosemount – arguably a fantastic program, with miserable support staff who are thrilled to take your application fee and then never ever respond to a wait-list inquiry. We were on their list for 3 years before finally getting a call for a slot for “Jeremy” – and our daughter’s name is Jessica.

  • My SO teaches at Amazing Life Games at 16th and Varnum, and our son will be attending when he turns 2.5:

    Great kids, great families, and a great community for learning and creative play.

    • andy

      Amazing Life Games really looks nice and is near where we grab the bus for our morning commute. I would think of it if I was considering something private for that age.

      But, we figure, why pull the kid from almost school-like day care (parent-teacher conferences at 1 year old! learning zones! all-Spanish!) to put them in something marginally more structured for a year and then turn around and send them to preschool or pre-K the next year?

      It just seemed better to have the kid in day care with teachers and kids he knows and then have him go direct to either DCPS or PCS when he’s eligible (at age 3).

    • Second the nod to ALG. Both our kids went there and we still keep in touch with the staff.

  • DC actually offers a co-op preschool for kids younger than 3. You should be able to find info online. Two friends did it this past year and seemed to like it.

    There are a handful of Montessori programs around–not necessarily in the neighborhood–but they’re expensive and usually only half-days at age 2, possibly only three days a week. Otherwise, yeah, it’s called daycare. That’ll run you about $1500/month.

    We had the same experience with Rosemount as above. We’ve been on the waitlist for 3 years without so much as a phone call.

  • I have heard good things about Centronia and Amazing Life Games. We liked the DC Parks and Rec Coop. Visit the different sites and see what you like.

  • OP here. Thanks for all the suggestions. We don’t have our son in daycare but think that by 2.5 years he will be ready for more interaction with other kids and to begin to learn in a new setting. A few half days per week would be just fine I think. Will definitely look into these programs.

  • Drop the little ones off at a neighborhood dog park for the day. Be sure to leave them with a full sippy cup and a few Cheerios. There is a pretty good chance they will be there when you return.

  • Our son goes to Franklin Montessori on Connecticut and Albermarle. They are one of the few preschools with a 2-year-old program. We live in Columbia Heights, but it’s a faster trip across the park than you might think.

  • You should look into the cooperative play program run through DC Parks & Rec. My coworkers twins love the program. It will offer your kid socialization, activites, etc. and it is very low cost. I don’t know if there is a group in Petwork, but there is one at CH Community Center on Girard near 15th. Note in exchange for low-cost you do have to be available to volunteer periodically to supervise the group.

  • If exposing your child to other people and other experiences is all that you are after, there is a wonderful little daycare right next to the Georgia-Petworth metro called Tiny Tots. It is low-cost and full of fun and love.

    They will allow you to do part-time, if you choose. My older son went there precisely in that way – part-time, just to get some time with other kids. He loved it and learned a lot. My younger son now goes there full-time. And at almost 2, he knows all of his colors, shapes, and ABCs.

  • I loved AppleTree International in Columbia Heights. It’s a two year pre-school. I can’t remember if it started at 3 or not though. Either way, it’s a great school and worth looking into.

  • We started our 4-year-old at Tiny Tots Day Nursery on Rock Creek Church Rd when he was a little more than two. He loved it and learned a lot, both in terms of ABC type stuff and in terms of how to get along with other kids. His transition from there to Appletree Public Charter School was relatively seamless. Our experience with Tiny Tots was good enough that we are now sending our younger son there, too. And the price is incredibly reasonable: $800/month.

  • You could also take your son to Scrilli School in Brookland. They are a preschool program starting with two year olds. I know many people who have sent their kids there and have been very happy with it.

  • Depending on when your child’s birthday is, he may be eligible for a preschool that officially starts at 3. I work at Bridges PCS at 13th and Taylor, and children can start there as long as they’re 3 by the end of that calendar year. We get a lot of 2.5 year olds. I think that’s DCPS policy, but I’m not sure.

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