On Nannies and Preschools

On Nannies and Preschools

There’s been a lot of hubbub about elementary school rezoning for the past two months. But what about kids who aren’t school age yet?

Many Park Slope families opt for personal caregivers. Nannies certainly offer individualized attention, and families can tailor care to their needs. Nannies have their downsides, though. For one thing, they are expensive. Starting salaries run about $400 per week, with experienced caregivers commanding closer to $1,000 per week (and premium nannies making much, much more). But kids with nannies also miss out on the socialization opportunities that preschool offers.

Preschools have their plusses and minuses. Though there are public preschool options, they are limited and can be difficult to get into. As for private, at approximately $12,000/year, they are less expensive than hiring a nanny. And preschools offer more opportunities for social interaction for little ones. But parents might be haunted by the prospect of their child crying in a corner while an indifferent or overwhelmed caregiver deals with other kids. Preschool can be less scary once infants turn into toddlers and parallel play turns into real interaction. For all its plusses, preschool’s lack of flexibility might not suit some working families. Schools with a 3pm pickup don’t do much for parents who work until 6pm (or for those who keep unpredictable hours).

It is possible to incorporate elements of both. Parents combine nannies or part-time caregivers with part-time preschools. Some Park Slope parents form cooperatives, or join existing coop preschools like the Old First Nursery School or Brooklyn Free Space. Of course, admission is not guaranteed.

Most preschools start the admissions process for the 2013-2014 school year in January. For those who want to get a jump on things, a few preschools have already begun accepting applications, and all of which have gotten very positive reviews on Park Slope Parents:

Park Slope Child Care Collective (186 St. John’s Place near 7th Avenue) is not-for-profit nursery school has been around since 1971.

Congregation Beth Elohim’s Early Childhood Center (274 Garfield Place) has a dual language Hebrew-English program that’s hosting an open house this Thursday.

Beansprouts (453 6th Avenue, pictured above) was founded in 1980, and the founder is still involved as the executive director.

If you have any recommendations, please share them in the comments.