To pre-school or not…

Kidlet is going to be 2 whole years old in September (I don’t understand how it happened so quickly), and I’ve recently learned that 2 years old makes pre-school available to him. He should go! He’d love it! As parents we should send him to school as soon as possible! Give him as many advantages as we can!

But the options are staggering. First of all, I think there must be a bazillion toddlers in this town, because there are half a bazillion pre-schools. And anytime I get faced with lots-o-options I have a nervous breakdown.

There are Christian pre-schools, a Jewish pre-school, several Montessori schools, some “Waldorf Inspired” options (I guess Waldorf doesn’t encourage any sort of formal learning before age 3?), a few co-ops,  several private schools, a couple of international schools, and tons of pre-school programs that several of the daycare centers incorporate into daycare.

Private options don’t really appeal to me, and they’re DAMN expensive. Like $7000 a year (school year, mind you) for 10hrs/wk pricey.

The co-ops don’t really appeal to me either. They only have “class” 2 days a week from 9-11, there’s a LOT of parent involvement (which isn’t really my thing) and they’re STILL pricey.

I like the Montessori approach and might look into some of the options more carefully, but they’re not inexpensive.

Waldorf-inspired…well, I’d choose Montessori over Waldorf because I’m more familiar with it.

I’m really interested in the Jewish pre-school, and the international schools. I like the idea of him being exposed to Judaism, not because we’re Jewish, but because the whole rest of his life will be heavily influenced by Christianity, so I like the idea of giving him religious exposure that will provide balance to the prevailing Christian norm. The international schools appeal to me because I like the idea of him learning a second language early. I know that kids are sponges for languages, and I think being exposed early to any language, in addition to English can only be an asset.

So I get all excited thinking about him going someplace with some structure and learning things. But then I think, “Well, he’s TWO. How about he just gets to play some more?”

He goes to daycare 2 full days and 2 half days right now. He seems to enjoy it. (Goodness knows *I* enjoy it – he sleeps SO MUCH BETTER the nights he’s there. Especially the full days.) While there’s no formal structure, he spends time with other kids, and different adults, and I think those things are valuable. We started him in daycare when he was about a year old so that I could have a small break (he started at 4hrs, one morning a week), and so he could be around other kids. As my paid work has increased, so has the amount of time he’s gone to daycare. It’s not terribly expensive (we pay $125/wk for about 24hrs of care), it gives me the opportunity to do some paid work, and it gives him a chance to be out of the house with kids his own age.

So, I think I’m shelving pre-school for now. I’ll probably re-vist it next year. And I’m sure I’ll fixate on it from time to time between now and the next time applications are due (yes, applications). (I’m going to need the next year to sort out all these options.) He’s got plenty of time to be in school – for now I’m just going to let him be in childhood.



Filed under O, parenting

10 responses to “To pre-school or not…

  1. Pre-school isn’t as popular around here – none of the 2 year old I know go at all, most 3 year olds don’t, and only about 75% off the 4 year old do. Or maybe that’s just in my group of friends. I sort of figure anything before he’s potty trained is more like day care and less like school and I don’t make enough (any) money to justify that. Although the thought of getting a break a few days a week makes me want to start potty training YESTERDAY.

    • I got interested in pre-school because I started to think he would benefit from more structure than he gets at his daycare. My younger brother and sister went to bigger daycares where all the kids in a given “room” were roughly the same age and development stage and they moved rooms as the got older, learned new stuff. But I like his caregiver – she’s flexible, and kind of a hippie, so I thought pre-school might complement her.

      But then I got a headache from all the options and thought, “WTF. I can just move him to a bigger daycare if that’s my issue.”

  2. Pre-preschool is pretty common around her. I just found out that kids can be considered “behind” in preschool if they don’t go. Which is ridiculous. BUT, I would LOVE 2 mornings a week to get a break and for Spencer to learn how to interact with kids. They are pretty expensive, but I found one that is cheap and great (and where I went!) and has a wait list a mile long. I figure there is no harm in getting on the list.

    • Oh, totally! Get on the list! Can’t hurt, right? I hadn’t even considered the “my kid’s supposed to know certain shit by a certain point in his life,” aspect of it. My sister was telling me that she got the stink eye when she enrolled two of her kids in kindergarten because they hadn’t been to pre-school. Apparently in some places kids are expected to be reading by kindergarten. Which is what I thought the point of kindergarten was…

      And having a break from kidlet? Has made me a MUCH BETTER MAMA. Times 100.

  3. babyinbrooklyn

    Oh man there’s a documentary called ‘Nursery University’ which is about getting into pre-school in NYC and I have been afraid to watch it. I feel like I should have gotten on a list before I even thought about having kids.

    • I couldn’t handle that kind of pressure. My kids would be unschooled. (Read: playing with their fingers in a corner while I vacuumed.) Shit, I can’t even handle THIS pressure.

  4. Janine

    you have highlighted precisely why I didn’t do any research and just stuck Sadie in the preschool that my sibs and I went to. Helps to have known the director for over 30 years.
    For me it was the issue of socialization – as in, she needed to be around other kids big time. Getting a “break” from her 2x a week has been good, too. But I’ve got my hands full with L now, so it’s not really much of a break.
    blah blah blah.
    I’ve got my head in the sand big time about doing all the school research but I know I need to get started. *sigh* The Business of Parenting. Not my forte.

    • I’m trying really hard to NOT be the research nerd that I am about everything. It just makes me crazy. Especially with all things child. I will never make the PERFECT decision. I will only make the “best for right now” decision. Surely I can do that without going batshit crazy, no?

  5. Jay

    Dunno about batshit crazy. I am not a research nerd and so I just did the easiest thing for me and then worried that I’d taken the lazy way out and was going to Ruin My Child’s Future and therefore was a No Good Terrible Very Bad Mom. Now she’s 11 and we are sending her to public school again next year for middle school even though people say we shouldn’t. Can’t win.

    Anyway, Eve was in a daycare that also ran a preschool but kept the programs separate (so the preschool parents could look down on the daycare parents while they were enrolling Little Lulu in the “lunch bunch” program so Lulu stayed at school until 1:00 PM but AT LEAST IT WASN’T DAYCARE BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE BAD). Sorry. Where was I? Oh, right. We were required to put her in preschool as soon as she was eligible, which for her was 2.5. I would have preferred to keep her in daycare – much less structured and a bit more nurturing – until the next year, but didn’t have a choice.

    • That’s kind of how we found his daycare – it was easy, she came reasonably well recommended by someone I knew well enough…it was the only place we looked at, and I didn’t think she was going to hurt him. And I’ve spent the last few months thinking, “Well maybe he needs something different…” when in reality, he’s doing just fine where he is. In fact, someone’s teaching him his body parts and it’s not me, so they must be doing something right.

      I’m glad you mentioned nurturing, because his provider now is VERY nurturing. I often come to pick him up and she’s on the floor being climbed on by 3 or 4 kids…I like that, and hadn’t really considered that he might lose that in a pre-school setting.

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