Looking At Schools. Yes, Schools.

Doesn’t that just sound like some grown-up yuppie thing to do? “Ooh, tonight Buffy and I are touring preschools for little Preston. It’ll be a smashing good time.” Yuppie and grown up or not, that’s what we did.

I must say that I’m really thankful that we don’t live in a part of the country where kids need to be on waiting lists from the moment they come out of the womb to get into a good preschool. My office mate at work has a nephew living in New York City and her brother has had him on a preschool waiting list for over a year. The kid is two. AND the school costs “tens of thousands of dollars.” HUH? To finger paint and sing songs? Really?

Anyway, I did some searching online, consulted a friend who teaches K3 in a public school and contacted a few schools. Since our local public elementary school doesn’t offer a K3 program, I knew we had to look into private schools. The idea of just sending him to a daycare center didn’t appeal to us. We wanted Riley in an actual school setting. It’s especially important since he’s not in daycare right now.

So last night, we ventured into a local non-denominational Christian school and toured it. ….and we liked it. ….and he loved it. Loved the toys, the teacher, the cute little chairs, the barns on the wall painted by 3-year olds, the basil plants growing in old milk cartons. It was almost too much.

Basically, this school meets all of our criteria. Fenced in playground (I have an irrational fear of him wandering off the playground with no one noticing), two teachers in the classroom (actual teachers, not daycare teachers), a good price ($250 a month for 3 half days per week seems reasonable to us) and private bathrooms in the classroom (irrational fear #2 of him having to go into a big school bathroom by himself).

After an hour in the classroom talking to the teacher and the preschool director, we left. Derek and I talked a lot about the place on the short ride home. I thought about September and what our lives will be like then. I’ll still be on maternity leave. We’ll have a 2-month old baby. And a 3-year old who can go to school. How can this little boy be old enough for that? To be sent out into the big, bad, cold, cruel (ok, yes, I’m being dramatic) world all by himself? Who will wipe his mouth after snack time? What if some other kid is mean to him?

All these thoughts made me tear up in the car. And of course, Riley noticed.

“What’s wrong, Mommy?” he asked from the backseat.

“Nothing’s wrong, buddy,” I said.

And really, nothing is wrong. We’ve spent the last three years raising an independent, intelligent, well-adjusted little boy. All my irrational fears are just that, irrational. He will thrive in school. I know this. He will love it. Other kids will love him.

And considering he spent the majority of the day asking if he could go back to the school, I know he’s trying to tell us that he’s ready. In his typical not-so-subtle way. But man, Sept. 4 is going to be a HARD day for me. I should probably start preparing now.

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