What are the choices?
You may be surprised by how many options there are -- and how different they can be. For example, Montessori schools have mixed-age classes in which 3- to 5-year-olds play independently. Waldorf schools foster creativity, using activities such as baking, gardening, and pretend play. There are religious preschools, programs at private schools or day-care centers, and cooperatives run by parents. In addition, many states now provide free programs for low-income families. Some states, including Georgia and Oklahoma, offer public pre-K classes for all 4-year-olds. To find out what's available in your area, talk to your friends, neighbors, pediatrician, and employer; inquire at your place of worship, community center, and local school.