Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Preschool Panic -- Or Not, as the Case May Be

Yesterday I got the word that Sean has a spot in preschool in September. I was getting a little concerned that I hadn't heard anything since sending in the application a month ago. We had essentially put all our eggs in a single preschool basket. If there was no room at this school, we knew that all the other schools would at best put Sean on a waiting list. So, phew!

I've been reading about some pretty intense preschool-selection processes over at Moxie and MUBAR (waiting in line outside the school in the wee hours of the morning, enduring parent and child interviews), and wondering if maybe my low-key approach was a mistake.

But context, and geography, is everything, I guess. I don't live in an ultra-competitive area, and premier preschools are out of our budget, especially since I won't be working full-time any more. We wanted a school that is close to home; has a program mixing art and music and free play with some "academics"; has a favorable child-to-staff ratio; and isn't too expensive (or so cheap that its quality is suspect). This left a handful of schools to choose from; essentially, we went with the one closest to us.

I guess we could have been more vigorous in our search, but I feel pretty comfortable with the school that we chose. Perhaps my anxiety level would have been ratcheted up a bit had I actually known other parents going through the same process. But few of our friends live near us, and they either have already run the preschool gauntlet in a different community or have not yet had to deal with it. So in our little vacuum, we adopted a rather laissez-faire attitude.

Check back in September to see how good our decisions was....