First, I don't see anything wrong with a preschool, as long as it's used for what the original intention was, which is a break in the day for Mom to have some time either to herself or with another child. It also does give children who may not otherwise have social interaction a chance to learn to be around other kids their own age.
Second, whether you are schooling your preschooler at home or comparing group preschool, you probably have questions about what to look for to educate your child properly. I will give you my ratio for every hour of "school" so you can compare apples to apples.
15% - outdoor time
15% - music time
15% - art and sensory play (not just coloring)
10% - good read-aloud books
10% - talk about numbers, shapes, colors, etc.
10% - food related (snack, lunch, cooking)
10-20% - active fun games or free play
0-10% - group learning
Obviously, the longer a school day gets, the more flexible these numbers will be as it will be difficult for the students to focus if they haven't had enough play. Also, a 3 year old class should have very little group learning and much more free play. So, the school that brags about their two hour long chapel program or their 45 minute circle time, is not a great fit for most preschoolers.
At the co-op we participate in, here was our schedule for the last hour, which I am the lead teacher for...
4 minutes to gather children and read a story
1 minute to present a concept (what is air?)
4 minutes of active indoor learning about air (filling paper bags, making paper move)
10 minutes of outdoor time continuing to learn about air, it was a very nice, windy day (getting paper to "stick to yourself" by the force of the air)
10+ total minutes of music time, including during "clean up" time and more active songs.
4 minutes to read a second story
10 minutes of coloring and letter formation with dry erase washable crayons
5 minutes to talk about letter of the day (i) and color (green)
7 minutes of free play (mainly kitchen and restaurant toys to play with)
5 minutes of clean up
We didn't have any food related activities because the kids had just had lunch. Some of the kids didn't participate in certain activities, and that's okay too. Kids that are pre-school age, are exactly that. It's before they are in school and that's okay. They learn through play, being read to, answering their questions, and discovering the world around them.
So, don't worry about the curriculum used, or kindergarten readiness or passing a test. Instead, let your kids be kids for a few more years, and look for outdoor play, music, movement, and most importantly, FUN!
And if you're curious about the dry erase washable crayons, they really are washable and they are amazing for preschoolers.
If you're interested in buying the crayons, click on my referral link below!