When Princess was born, everyone told us to sign up for preschools right away or at least put her on the wait list. As it turned out, we waited until she was around 1 year old before we finally applied for some preschools.
After making some phone calls and receiving some information from various preschools, we decided to apply to 3 different schools. Two of the schools that we applied for were also recommended by friends whose children attend there. Both schools are considered academic.The 3rd school is not considered academic but they do have an academic curriculum in their program. The 2 academic preschools have extensive applications. One of the applications was approx. 4 pages long with very detailed questions. The 2 academic preschools also have “interviews” before acceptance into the program. The 2 academic programs are also Christian based preschools. The 3rd non-academic school does not have an interview process and acceptance is on a first come first served basis. The 3rd school is also the least expensive.
We were able to visit 2 schoos, one of the academic schools and the non-academic one.
After visiting the academic preschool, we had mixed feelings. The school is very structured. A comment was made by the vice-principal that the children need to be able to sit and listen to the teacher. Hmmm….that sounded reasonable except that these children are only 3 years old and have short attention spans. The classrooms were not necessarily print-rich environments. The students didn’t necessarily seem like they were engaged in any real hands-on activities. I was able to review the workbooks used in the classroom and was not very impressed. My girlfriend who recommended this school said that it was good for her children because she didn’t have time to work with them at home.
The other school we visited (the non-academic one) was less structured. Princess was allowed to attend this visitation. The environment was extremely child-friendly. While in the office talking to the principal, Princess was given books and magnets to play with. During the tour, we were allowed to visit classrooms and many of them were very child friendly. We enjoyed the artwork on the walls and the learning centers in the classrooms. We did review the curriculum calendar as well as some of the books. Although, the curriculum is less structured and less academic the children are still learning the “basics”. Princess thoroughly enjoyed her visit. She even wanted to play in the dress-up center with the other children and she was interested in the colored water bottles in the science center.
So what’s a parent to do? The school that we did not visit yet is actually our 1st choice. It came highly recommended by many people. Although it is academic, the teachers are very loving and the class size is very small. The major comment made by most was that is was like a family environment. We hope to visit this school at the beginning of next year. Our 2nd choice is the non-academic preschool since Princess really enjoyed her visit there. It seems like she would be happy to attend that school. Our last choice is the academic school that we visited.
Today we received a letter from the 3rd choice school. The letter stated that we would be contacted in January 2008 to schedule our interview. Included with the letter was a Teacher Recommendation form that needs to be filled out by the end of November if your child is attending school now.
Since Princess is not attending school, we will not be filling out that Teacher Recommendation form. But I can’t help feel like I’m applying to a private grade school with these intense applications, teacher recommendations, and interviews. I am so glad that Princess is too young to understand in case she doesn’t get accepted. She won’t have to face the rejection. Whew! Some of you may be saying that rejection is a fact of life. I agree but not at 2 or 3 years old! Gee, I guess maybe the parents have to face the rejection if their child doesn’t get accepted to the preschool of choice. Will it be a reflection of us and our parenting? I’m not sure about that.
I remember a conversation with Mr. MaD’s cousin. Her daughter was not accepted to one of the more prestigious private schools in the area. She applied for kindergarten. It was recommended to her that she should have her daughter tutored (at the age of 4-5 years old) so that she can possibly reapply if she is interested.
My goodness…how competitive school is for these children. I remember when I was only 4 or 5 years old. I was still having fun! I wonder when we stopped letting children be children? I hope that when Princess attends preschool she will still be a child and still enjoy her childhood. I would hate to see her lose her sense of innocence, wonder, and creativity just because she did or didn’t attend the “right” school.