The Big Preschool Question


The 2019-20 Preschool Year is … Right Around the Corner??

I feel like school just started and yet I already need to plan for the next school year for my 3 year old. How do you plan for something as big as your child’s education nine months in advance? A lot can happen in a family in nine months!

I remember when my first child was preschool age. The list of preschool options was mystifying. I liked it better when I was young–there was one option and a bus would take you there. No traipsing around town for mom. No wondering if she made the right choice.

We’ve got good news for everyone wondering what options West Michigan has for preschools. 


This guide is loaded with options for parents. Explore all of the schools listed–you may be pleasantly surprised at what a school offers.


Types of Preschools in West Michigan

Still not sure where to start? Here are a few of the different preschool options for kids in West Michigan. And even if you’ve already seen a child through this stage, consider this: just because you did one type of schooling for one child doesn’t mean you have to stick with it for all of your kids.


These preschools are great ways for kids to learn social skills as well as how to sit still and listen to an adult, how to navigate the world without mom and dad present and of course…how to write and count!

These programs are a fantastic way for young kids to burn off energy, make new friends, and change up their routine a little. It gives them a new appreciation for their home and the safety it offers. It gives them an understanding that adults are always in charge and that leaving home for school should be fun and engaging.

A benefit of this type of school is that they’re usually only a couple of days of week for a few hours. Many parents like that their little ones can still be home most of the time yet still have a consistent social outlet.


This is a homeschooling option that many of my friends have used when their kids were small. My eldest did this for two years before enrolling in a young five’s program near our home and my second daughter is also enjoying her preschool co-op this year.

Co-ops are as varied as the parents teaching them. Basically, a group of mom and dads get together take turns teaching their small class (5 to 7 students seems to work best) during the school year. Some may meet several times a week, others once a week, and some just twice a month. The curriculum is determined by the parents teaching. I did co-op with a group of Christian parents so our lessons were faith based. You could have an alphabet-themed co-op or animal themed, science, environment, travel- you name it. Find your passion and find some friends who share it with you!

If that amount of hands-on education intimidates you, Northwest Co-Op Preschool is a mashup of the co-op movement and traditional preschool, where parents can be more involved, but there’s still a consistent teacher in the classroom.


Sometimes it’s fun to be different. (I’d argue that all the time it’s fun to be different!) If you want preschool with a twist, West Michigan has options. Gymco offers preschool with a load of movement. (Hello daily nap time at home!) The Goddard School offers year round classes–great for working parents.


With the recent death of the beloved state-funded Early 5’s program, many parents are left wondering how to help their child transition to full day kindergarten. Going from a two half-days a week in a 4 year old preschool to all day, every day, can be tough on a kid.

Fortunately, many local preschools are offering early 5’s type programs. These programs often run either five half-days a week, or three full days a week. They intensify their focus on kindergarten readiness while still allowing space to learn through play. Many schools in our guide have a pre-K option for you!


Some parents prefer to let their kids have an unstructured schedule for as long as possible and therefore opt to not send their child to any formal preschool. Others prefer the freedom to enroll their child in a variety of learning experiences not found in a Monday-Friday classroom.

These parents often work hard to give their child plenty of learning opportunities and social experiences before heading off to kindergarten. This can be done through a varied schedule filled with summer camps, frequent visits to museums and other cultural venues, music classes, sports participation, art classes and more.


Good luck to our readers making a preschool decision this month. Remember, whatever you choose will be the right decision for your child! 

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