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Pre-Nursey School Age Cutoff

It seems Lisa's son will miss the age cutoff for a part-time pre- / nursery school program.  Anyone with some thoughts to offer this fellow mom?

My son's birthday is at the end of October and the nursery school's we're interested in have a cut-off date of being 2 by September 1st. This means he won't be able to start nursery school until he is almost 3. I'm wondering how other mamas have dealt with this situation. Are there any programs or nursery schools that provide the things that nursery school does (activities, social interaction and, not least of all, a few hours for mama alone time!) that are available for kids who don't meet the age cut-off required by most nursery schools. I'm looking, ideally, for something that meets 2-4 hours a day a few days per week. Thanks in advance!


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Great question! I've been meaning to ask: What to do about a kiddo that misses the 9/1 kindergarten deadline by just days or weeks? Does anyone know of schools that can make exceptions for those born in September that are ready for school at 4 years, 11 months?

Portland Public Schools allow early entry for kindergarten. I think there is a formal process for qualifying your child for early enrollemnt. There is information about it on the Portland Public Schools website.

Hm, the preschool we used started the kids at age 3, as do all the other ones I know of. (And my son was born in January, which meant he was almost 4 when he started). However, I read you loud and clear on the mama alone time, as well as opportunities for your little one to have regular time with other kids.

What about a nanny share? I see the flyers up for them all over the place. A friend of mine did it for just a few hours a week with another family (you don't have to go 50-50). Her son got to hang with the other kids and she got some time alone. It's not a formal preschool setting, and it worked pretty well.

I know that many childcares and preschools have state mandated adult to child ratios to meet. Infants and toddlers require more staff per I think 4 children. Once age 3 met, the ratio increases greatly, allowing for fewer staff in a grow of preschoolers. So, it could be a staffing issue also.

While this does not affect my daughter. She will be 3 in May I did find a school in Vancouver that accepts kids starting at
2 and a Half. Also some preschools may have openings during the school year (due to kids moving,drop outs etc) so you might be able to enroll at that time instead of waiting till the next year when he is almost 4.

Could you just pay one month's tuition to hold your spot for September, and start him in October, after his birthday? That way you could start at the school you like and not have to wait a year.

My daughter has the same birthday issue. Her first year of preschool, she went to the Portland French School on Corbett, which takes kids at two-and-a-half, and has flexible schedules (mornings only, three days, full days, etc.) She goes to Montessori now, and Montessoris also will take kids who are a little younger than three.

I know Homegrown in NE PDX takes kids who are 2, but I don't know if she has cut-off dates. I recently visted. It's not academic, is very home-like and she has a lot of experience, over 20 years.

Wow, this sounds so familiar. I'm in Seattle, and the coop preschool I'm trying to get my daughter into has a strangely changing age cut-off date. For them, it's a "Must be 2 by August 31st" for the first class, but the older classes have a "Must be 3/4 by December 31st" date. This means that Fall babies are missing the first year and joining in on the older classes.

What I'm doing about it is two-fold: I'm petitioning the school to set a consistant cut-off date for classes, and I'm applying for the Parent Education Classes at the local university that works with the coop preschools. While the second option won't solve the Mamma-alone-time dilema, it will get me a better chance of getting my girl into this preschool that I love next year, and get her the time and interaction I'm looking for. Is there a similair program in Portland? The link to the Seattle program is here:


Good luck!

Mamas, we've recently received another email on this topic and would love to see if others would have more tips: "My son will turn 3 years old next September 9. And I realized that the cut-off for school is September 1. He's definitely going to be ready for pre-school, and I think he'd love a Montessori experience; I can't imagine holding him back another year because he was born a week after the deadline. Has anyone else with September birthdays in their family had experience with this? Also, if he does end up getting into preschool next year, is it difficult to get him into first grade with his buddies (as long as he seems ready, obviously), or will he for sure end up waiting another year to get into elementary school because of his birthdate?

Any help or information would be much appreciated from people who've had experience with this! I looked on the PPS website, but they don't say much about the issue that I can find (granted, their website is a bit difficult to navigate...)"

Our son turns 3 next month and we just had our second baby in July. Early this year I set out to find a pre-school program that we could get him in to early this summer for a few months before the new baby arrived. (I was very nervous that having a baby and sending him off to preschool just weeks later would be way too much transition for him.) I found that the larger centers/schools were much more rigid about their application processes and birthday cut-offs, while the smaller schools were much more flexible. We found a great Montessori school close to home, he's been there since April and he's thriving. My advice, find a small school that will possibly be more flexible.

Two schools/ programs for under 3's off the top of my head are Montavilla Community Center Preschool Program and Wild Lilac Preschool. We went to a preschool fair and there were MANY that took 2 year olds if they were potty trained. And several that took them in diapers.

Generally, one would start looking at schools anywhere from the fall to the spring(at the latest) before the fall you want to start. Schools need to know that they will have full enrollment for the following year with a waiting list to make up for those who drop out for one reason or another. Usually, it's a really good sign if a schools is planning ahead.

I would say, just crack open the phone book and start calling, I'm sure you will find many choices:) Good Luck!


I run a small playschool for the pre-preschool set in NE called the Peanut Gallery Playschool. The age range runs from 18 months through 4 years and being potty trained is not required. I have not yet begun to build a waiting list for next year, but for those of you who like to plan ahead are welcome to contact me about a visit. There are limited spaces for children under 24 months.

Be well!

The website can be found at:

Wild Lilac Preschool is a great resource. They are starting a new school j for 2-3.5 year olds that is opening September 2008. It is a home based program... Waldorf toys, free play, gardening, painting, stories etc.

Apple Blossom is another perfect resource. We have been in business for 5 years now & I have over 20 years teaching experience. We take children at my daycare from infant to age 5 & my preschool age 2.5 up to age 6.
It is rare we have an opening at the preschool, but we now have a couple, due to many graduating onto kindergarten.

• We are state registered & certified & a “Green” Daycare (no pesticides, harmful, chemicals or cleaners, & use only organic food).
• We are a Waldorf inspired preschool & have trained & certified teachers on staff
• We are a media free space with only Mother Nature as our greatest source of inspiration & your child's natural curiosity. Your child will be surrounded by natural beauty, gentle hands, warm hearts & soothing daily rhythm.
• We have a registered dietitian on staff, with over 11 years of experience, to help in creating the most healthy & delicious meals offered anywhere!
• We will sing, play, & explore each day.
• The surroundings are inspiring & open ended with toys like, silks, wooden toys felted animals, & home made toys.
• We will bake, clean, garden & play our day away! We will go outside (rain or shine) daily as well.
• We provide the most nutritious & organic foods only! We cook snacks & lunch each day.
• We will also lovingly potty train your child when they are ready.
• We are enrolling right now & for the summer & fall. Your child must be 3 by mid August.
• I have been in business 5 year’s & have over 20 years teaching experience!
Please email Carrie at her email address below & check out her web site. Its takes a few moments to load, so be patient.

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