Saturday, March 15, 2008

Preschool

We tried out that new church about a month ago, the Presbyterian one, and since we haven't been back yet (due to a combination of major and minor illnesses, travel, and laziness) they called this afternoon to say, "Whassup?"

I mentioned that we were very interested in their preschool programs, because MG was going to be three in the fall...

"You'd better call right away, to get her on the waiting list," she said.

"Waiting list?"

"Oh yeah, the preschool is in demand. My kids didn't go there, because we didn't live in this area. No, the preschool where my kids went, you called to get them on the waiting list the day you got home from the hospital from giving birth! In fact, you should really put Claire on the list, too."

Are you freaking kidding me?

People, these aren't college admissions. It's preschool. I have to believe that one faith-based finger painting and play-dough eating program is going to be pretty similar to another. I mean, assuming that we're not talking about the difference between a preschool where the kids play and learn vs. one where the kids are beaten and do slave labor... It's preschool, for cryin' out loud. They're practically babies.

Do people honestly believe that if they don't get their kids into the "right" preschool, they won't go to the "right" college or get the "right" job? Do they worry so much about this that it starts the day their kid is born? What is that doing to the kids?

Is it like this everywhere? I mean, I had heard, "Oh, get on the waiting list for the lab school at the university right away..." because I knew that everyone in town thought that it was The Best, and blah blah blah, but you know what? I'm not paying more than it cost me for a semester of college (literally) for a semester of preschool, folks. Not gonna happen. No amount of money is going to change the fact that they're going to finger paint and eat clay. The clay tastes just as bad at the cheap preschool. And I refuse to believe that I have to send the kids to the "right" preschool so that they can network with the other kids who will be going to the "right" college, etc. They have the rest of their lives to be in the rat race. Let them eat paint!

Maybe I'm overconfident because I know my kids are brilliant (no, really, they are. I don't talk about it often because I don't want to brag - hence the name of the blog, ha - but MG is 31 months old and she knows the planets. In order.), so I know that they're going to do well in life even if I never send them to school at all. I firmly believe that I could "unschool" these kids and they'd turn out fine (not that I will. Mommy needs to get back to work). So, maybe I have the luxury of saying, "Oh, preschool doesn't matter..." But maybe when you look at your kid, and his eyes are a little too close together, you say, "Yeah, junior, you're going to need all the help you can get, I'd better get you into the Harvard Preschool Program ASAP. It could be your only chance." (See also: George W. Bush)

That's the only reasonable explanation I can come up with for this sort of behavior. What's the preschool scene like where you live? Is it a throw down at registration for kindergarten too? What am I in for? Are there any other 3 year waiting lists looming in my future that I need to know about? After all, "rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?" (Thanks W.)


picture stolen from netministry.com via Google Images

1 comment:

Heather said...

1. The quote list for George Bush - did anyone slap him after he put out #6?

2. Our daycare practically *is* a preschool as far as I'm concerned. Jeez, the kid is two and they're studying colors and mixing, and animals... and probably eating paint given the kid's wardrobe "alterations".

3. Kindergarten - from the German - children garden. In my opinion, THAT should be the beginning of the school career (does the daycare comment make me a hypocrite?).

What is this obsession with preschools, nursery schools, hell, with everything from birth onward, and sometimes beforehand for the mom? I'm guessing typical American commercials-based insecurity: we've gone from "if you don't buy this zit cream you won't be cool" to "if you don't enroll your kid NOW NOW NOW, not only won't your kid be cool, but you'll be paraded about the village commons as a Bad Parent before being placed in the pillory so we can throw eggs at you."

4. Yeesh.