Friday, July 9, 2010

Preschool? Already?

Planning for my son's future preschooling has been a long time coming. With his 3rd birthday next week, that means he is eligible to start in Fall 2010; which to me, I thought would feel much further away than it truly is. But it really isn't. It's just a short 6 months down the road.

6? 6 teeny tiny short months? That's it?

And never in a million years would I have thought I was going to be thinking about school. I figured that maybe a month beforehand (MAX!) is when I would have been writing a check to the Co-op we FINALLY ended up choosing just to hold a place in my son's name. This was hardly the case.

Last year, even before my son's 2nd birthday, I overheard a few mom's at our local library group talking. They mentioned preschool. And how they were already taking tours and interviewing teachers. I thought to myself that there was no way they were talking about the child that sat next to my son during story time! But a few sentences later, it was perfectly clear that she WAS definitely talking about him. I was stunned. I mean, seriously? He's not even TWO!

Needless to say, I came to the conclusion that I better get moving and start looking into it. I mean, these days, kindergarten is the new 1st grade, and preschool is the new kindergarten. What's next? Foreign language classes in elementary school? Oh wait....

We researched all of the area preschools. Weighed the pro's and con's of each. Which schedules worked best for our family? Which one was "closest" in proximity to our house? Which had the best teachers? Which one's were other parents that we knew sending their kids to? Which one was the most innovative and included areas of education that we deemed important?

We finally decided on one of the hardest preschools to get in to in our area in which to send our son. This involved spending a little more money. Adjusting our home and work schedules a little more than we wanted to. And waiting in a long, painstaking line at 4 o'clock in the morning during a frigid snowstorm when I accidentally ran my car battery down and had to make friends with the mom in the car behind me in line in order to keep my toes from freezing off for the next 3 hours in my own minivan; just to secure one of 9 available openings. yeah.....

To us, all of these "sacrifices" weren't actually "sacrifices", but we looked at them as opportunities. For all of us to step out of our comfortable and ever-so-safe box and venture in to the great wide open. To send our son to a preschool that wasn't just a few minutes away. Or send him to a preschool that was less financially demanding. Or send him to a preschool where he would already know a few of the kids.

This was our opportunity to send him to a preschool where he will learn in a more interesting and innovative way. Where he won't be sitting a desk, instead outside; playing in the dirt, getting muddy, and breathing the fresh, crisp midwest air of an autumn morning. He will be staring into the clear blue sky; pointing out birds and knowing them by name and wingspan width. He will be creating and dreaming and feeling it all, to his very core.

It's not that we believe traditional preschools aren't adequate, it's just that we believe he will learn, and enjoy learning, and he will find this as a smoother transition to gaining his independence and self confidence. So when the time comes to attend a more traditional school he will already be equipped with the experience of a school, but the excitement of nature and the environment will be a firm foundation under his belt from the very start.

Now, if I could just get him potty trained.....

Originally posted to Chicago Moms Blog on March 18, 2010.

When Jen isn't filling out preschool applications and wondering where the time has gone, she's blogging about it all; openly and honestly at her personal blog, Mommy Instincts or twittering about it at @mommyinstincts.


MBKimmy said...

hahaha I did the same thing here ... but didn't get in line until 5am.
Does your school allow them if not fully potty trained?! Some of ours (Myrtle Beach, SC) do and some don't

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I can't believe pre-school age has hit us! Capri turns three in December, and preschool starts in August here... we signed her up, then decided that the $ 265/ month payment was too much, and she would be fine waiting a year.... then we told my in-laws and they decided to pay! Crazy how that worked out... but I'm still a little conflicted, I'll miss her. How did our kids gets so big all of the sudden? And why is there this huge gap of when kids should start preschool? I have a friend with a 4 year old little girl that is going to start this year with one day a week, and my friend says its because she is a stay at home mom and she can teach her everything just fine, and that way they can have time for dance lessons/swim/karate etc.... and some kids never even go to preschool and just start kindergarten (which is basically just a repeat of preschool). Even the preschool told us that they don't focus on academics until they are around 4/5, and so right now its socialization and class room ettiquette... which to me is like a glorified babysitter that we (ahem, my in laws) are paying a ridiculously large amount for. Capri is going 9-noon mon, wed, friday. When is Jonah going?