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Preschool Panic

Maddie turns 3 this summer, and talk on
the playground and in playgroups these days is all about preschool.
To be honest, I hadn’t even thought about it until a week or
so ago, and now it’s waking me up in a cold sweat.
Registration for next fall is either RIGHT NOW or already over, and
we’re not sure we even want to do it, much less where
we’d go.

I’m trying to sift through this rationally, but it
isn’t easy. Maddie would be one of the youngest kids in her
“class”, and while she is at the front of the
developmental curve, I know the move has been hard on her and
she’s going through an intense “mommy” phase.
I’m assuming she’ll be past that come fall, but who can

I also have to ask myself why I’d be sending Maddie to
preschool. After all, I didn’t set foot in a school until
kindergarten – not even pre-k for me – and was third in
my class. Maddie will be attending public school so we don’t
have to worry about getting into the “right” preschool
to ease us into the “right” private school. And I have
to wonder if the hundreds of dollars a month we’d be spending
on preschool wouldn’t do more good for her education, say,
stuffed into her college fund.

On the other hand, I know socialization is
a big part of preschool and is pretty difficult to replicate at
home, no matter how dedicated a mommy you are. Interacting, group
stimulation, learning discipline and being able to listen to adults
other than a parent are valuable skills I don’t want to
discount. I certainly see a restlessness to Maddie more than I used
to, and she’s practically crying out for more structure, more
interaction, more variety than I currently give her: every morning
she asks where we’re going or what we’re doing for the
day – is it playgroup day? Gym day? Library day? Then what
the heck are we going to do all day, Mommy?

We’re already planning on starting Maddie in a pre-ballet
class this summer, to give her small doses of Life Without Mommy
and see how she does in a structured invironment where more is
required of her than simply running amok. She’s begging to
join a soccer league, so that’ll start in the fall, and I
wonder if we can simply add another class – say, music
– and be done with it for another year. We’ll save
money, she’ll interact in her classes and playgroups, and I
can do the stress of preschool admission a year from now. I just
don’t know.

So I’m throwing it out there to all of you, and I really want
to know: what do you think of the whole preschool thing, especially
for 2- and 3-year-olds? If you’ve got a child in preschool,
why? Is it because you think he’ll be smarter, or better able
to cope in kindergarten, or to get him into the best private
schools later on, or because you simply need a break a couple times
a week? If you’re opting out of the whole preschool stress,
what was the deciding factor for you – money? Thought
you’d miss your kid? Think it’s unnecessary?

I’d really like to hear from you all, which is why I’m
posting it at the end of the week and giving everyone plenty of
chance to answer. If you want to be honest but are shy (no one else
needs to know your child’s in preschool so you don’t
eventually go crazy with all the “why” questions) feel
free to email me your feedback at Jennifer@1mother2another.com.

We’re touring a couple schools, asking questions, and trying
to keep our minds open. I’ll let you know what we decide, and
why. I’m lucky – my girlfriend Abby didn’t find a
preschool in her area she liked for her son, so she started one.
Talk about a great resource! I’ll be digging in, doing my
research, scouting out the schools, and make a decision. So speak
up, and help me out.


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