After much laboring over a decision about what kind of transformation our life would take this fall, we finally have a conclusion! It's the compromise that we were hoping for, but not one that we felt was possible in the area that we live in. We found an inexpensive (due to the fact that it is subsidized by the city where we live) half day, three-day-a-week preschool program for EC. It is walking distance from our house and they have a spot for EC in their four-year-old program. We visited last week and spoke with her teacher. The teachers have been there for 5+ years and worked within the city programs for close to twenty years. The classroom was divided up into a music area, art area, and a spot for story time and circle time. They also had several play areas - one set up like a kitchen, one was a wooden playhouse filled with dolls and the last one had every kind of block you could imagine. The kids were a pretty diverse crowd and the teachers were laid back, but in charge. They have the short time scheduled for the kids and they learn from a new theme each week.
EC dove right in, introducing herself to the kids, playing with them on the computer, and making stuff with scissors and paper. She is so ready for a little time to be independent of Mommy and Daddy. And I cannot wait to hear the stories that she has to tell about making new friends and all the exciting new things she learns in school. She's going to have a hard time waiting until September for the start of the new school year. I, on the other hand, am glad that I have a few months to prepare. It will be hard to admit that she's big enough to go to school all on her own, even if its just for a few hours a day.
The best part of this scenario is that I can stay home for one more year. I'll get to spend three mornings a week with little LR and all three of us will have our afternoons and Tuesdays and Thursdays for our normal routine. I am a little disappointed that I won't be going back to work, but I think this is the best option for our little family. And I feel extremely fortunate that we are able to do this for one more year. Now that we have preschool figured out, we have only a few short months before the search for a kindergarten begins!