I have an admission to make, one of which that I can't decide whether I should be Type-A Minus proud or embarrassed. Let's go with both: my wee CEO is already on preschool wait-lists and, wait for it, has been since he was in utero. That is to say, before we had any idea whatsoever of his personality, I waddled around a few schools, pregnantly pretending to be a responsible adult who has Important Thoughts about wee person education, and plunked down a few deposit checks.
If you can believe it, that is apparently a normal thing here in my slice of overly educated, NPR-listening, Whole Foods-shopping Austin, where theoretically optional things like preschool aren't really.
Let me explain: some of the best advice I received in the wee CEO's early days - that I can recall, I should add, since that time is shrouded in a cloud of exhaustion and "WTF do I do with a newborn???" bewilderment - was to find a group of like-minded new mothers. As I've mentioned before here, eventually I've been lucky enough to do just that, but I didn't meet them or have the benefit of that support group until after Master P's arrival - which resulted in things like pre-partum waddles around preschools pretending I knew how to parent a child, let alone select a school for him.
The "Where should I send my child to preschool?" chat broke out, as it tends to do, at our playgroup the other day, when I was reminded how happy I am to know these people. After discussing the merits of Montessori versus Waldorf versus, I dunno, letting children be children, one mom mentioned a local program that starts 2-year-olds on intensive Mandarin & Spanish lessons.
Blank stares abounded as I furtively looked from one mom to the other & thought to myself, "OK, I'm as big an education
snob advocate as anyone, but at 2 years of age isn't my tot supposed to be doing things like learning how to play nicely with others?" I remained silent. "Will they think I'm strange if I want him to do big, impressive stuff like learning advanced calculus, but maybe not six months from now?"
"That's impressive," my friend continued, "I dunno, though - I want my kid bringing home the occasional finger-painting too, right?" I laughed and nodded in agreement, relieved. Yes, I do know.
So I may re-tour some preschools, less the hormones and the panic I had the first time around, armed with a bit more knowledge of Master P and what the AH & I want out of an early school experience for him. Sure, a good learning environment is a top priority, but so is a place where my boy will feel safe and adored and free to be a boisterous, ornament thieving toddler too.
I suspect this isn't the mindset a true Type A, Tiger Mom sort would encourage, but there you have it. Playing nicely with others is rightly up there with learning skillz on my list - and not a bad reminder for us here on the Interwebs, is it?
Any advice for embarking on this preschool selection process?