Posts Tagged ‘preschool’
Last week I spent a great deal of time thinking about and researching preschool options for Evan next year, but instead of helping me make a decision I’m just MORE confused than I was.
When I looked at a 3-year-old preschool program, my biggest challenge was just tracking down basic information. Where are they? When are they? How much do they cost? You’d think that was all classified information – ESPECIALLY the “how much does it cost?” question. No one wants to tell you until you’ve already taken the tour, brought your kid in for a visit, filled out the paperwork and totally fallen in love with the place. Then SURPRISE! Three day a week preschool costs almost exactly as much a my annual college tuition did! But look, did we show you the llamas the children help care for as part of our animal husbandry program for toddlers?
NO LLAMAS, NO. We cannot eat the things my child learns to knit from your luxurious hair, so we had to choose a less-fancy but totally lovely preschool program. I made my choice and haven’t regretted it for a second since Evan started. I love them so much I started sending Caroline and plan to continue sending her until she’s old enough for one of the public school programs.
So. About those public school programs. There are two options in my town – the charter school and the regular public school. If you had asked me last year, I would have said the charter school was absolutely my first choice with our current (not free) preschool as a back up. The regular public school option was third. Of course, that opinion was based on nothing. Truly nothing. Not a single actual thing. I don’t know anyone whose kids go to the public program, I just assumed it would be not good based on the fact that my town is slightly economically depressed (am I the only one who pictures a really sad dollar sign anytime someone uses that phrase? Probably). But with that opinion behind me I filled out the charter school application a full year early and then crossed all my crossables.
It didn’t work. Evan is number 15 on the wait list. There are only 22 spots in the classroom, so the chances we’ll get moved up far enough to get in are…not good.
The truth is, I’m not sure how I feel about it. The charter school is very, very popular. There are something like 800 kids on the wait list at any given time – there was a mom on the tour last week who said her 5th grader has been on the list for four years. Getting in through the preschool program is the only way to guarantee a spot in the elementary and middle school programs. But after the tour I wasn’t 100 percent sure it was the place for my kid. There wasn’t anything WRONG with it, I just wasn’t…blown away, I guess? There definitely weren’t any llamas.
Now it looks like he’s going to go to regular preschool at the regular public school. This year they’re starting a whole new consolidated program for all the pre-k’s in our town at one elementary school and it sounds like they’re working really hard to make it amazing. Evan could take the bus – THE BUS – to and from school 5 days a week. They have a gorgeous playground. He will probably know at least one kid in his class, thanks to his extensive social circles. I think I can make the pick-ups and drop-offs work with Caroline’s preschool schedule, so she can stay where she is. But the regular public preschool feeds into the regular public schools and I’m a tiny bit terrified of our town’s middle school. It is a RIDICULOUS thing to worry about, since the chances of us still living here when my children are in middle school are about the same as our chances of winning the lottery, moving to a villa on the coast of France and paying a private tutor for the next 13 years but worrying is my second favorite hobby.
It can really all be summed up as OMG WHO THINKS I AM RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH TO MAKE THESE DECISIONS FOR ANOTHER HUMAN BEING? Just like every other parenting decision. A preschool seems like a tiny choice, but it’s a pebble tossed into a pond – the ripples could echo through the rest of their lives. It’s too much. At least now I don’t have to pick which stone to throw?
Today I am dropping both of my children off and escaping. Hopefully the firefighters will find nice homes for them.
Caroline starts baby school today, 2.5 hours, 2 days a week, for a grand total of 5 whole hours. Putting them both in school now instead of at some mythical point a few years down the road feels like I’m cheating a little bit. I fully admit to being someone who has said things like “Ugh, stop calling daycare SCHOOL. It’s not the same” in the past, which makes me both a pretty big jerk and a hypocrite. (That’s pretty much all you need to know about becoming a parent – you will do tons of things that make you a pretty big jerk and a hypocrite. Also, at some point you will make up a song about poop.) But now that I am the one sending my barely-two-year-old to a “childcare center” a few hours a week I take it all back. I am sure Caroline will come home speaking three languages and reading full chapter books by the end of the month. Or more likely she’ll cry the first day, show off her coloring-on-the-carpet skills the second, and sing the song I wrote about poop to her teachers.
This was the plan all along. I signed Evan up for THIS school as opposed to the one within walking distance specifically because they offered Tuesday-Thursday classes and a 2 year old program. The class has a very small staff-to-child ratio where I’m sure her singing and drawing talents will be appreciated and fawned over. Two and a half hours is barely even enough time for her to notice I’m gone – I’m pretty sure I’ve taken showers almost that long while she played with empty diaper boxes in her room. She’s going to love school and I need to stop trying to convince myself that’s true because it IS true.
Not to mention I could really use regular, dependable, child-free hours for myself. I took both kids to run errands on Sunday and although they didn’t actually cause any physical damage it’s only a matter of time. We are a walking comedy act, seconds away from pulling the bottom can out of a can pyramid and having the whole thing crash down on top of us. I am doing everyone who works retail anywhere in South Eastern Connecticut a huge favor by putting Caroline in school. YOU’RE WELCOME, GUY WHO BUILDS CAN PYRAMIDS.
The very small voice that is stopping me from being totally sure says that Evan got 3 years home with me before I shipped him off to school. But he also only got 20 months as an only child while Caroline is well on her way to 3 full years as the baby.
In the end, I didn’t spend a ton of time making lists of pros and cons about this decision, which is probably why I’m spending so much time rationalizing it to myself now. It isn’t doing me any good, but it feels like a little hand-wringing is appropriate in this situation. My baby is going to school where she will learn to put her shoes on the right feet and drink from a real cup and boss everyone around. I mean boss MORE people around.
I’m pretty excited in a sweaty palms, clutching my phone in my hand all morning, three cups of coffee kind of way. I might have a bit of a breakdown, is what I’m saying. But at least I’ll be able to do it alone.
*Not actually free. But I’m sure I won’t miss that kidney I had to sell to pay tuition too much.
Thank you for your texts, phone calls and tweets friends. We’re in the other half of the state from the shooting so we are all OK. A friend on Facebook reposted a status update from a relative who lives in Newtown, Connecticut today, thanking everyone for their thoughts and prayers but asking that we stop tuning in to the 24/7 news coverage so the media will leave them alone. I couldn’t agree more. I have no words for what happened and my children are too young (thank God) to be aware of what’s happened, so I’m trying to prevent it from affecting them by tuning out. Caroline’s birthday party was on Saturday and I am so, so thankful her 2-year-old world is untouched.
For the rest of the day we’re going to eat leftover cookies and cuddle on the couch and watch Disney and play anything the kids want to without complaining. Actually, that’s pretty much the plan for every day for the rest of the year. We’re boring, but at least we are together.
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