Thanks you all so much for your comments on the preschool thing yesterday! The tips were very helpful and reaffirmed my belief that I am not asking for the moon, just a safe loving environment to interact with other kids, play and maybe learn. I also appreciate knowing that I’m not the only one who thinks starting preschool at 2 is… unnecessary? However, with my particular 2 year old I really do think there would be some big benefits, at the right place. He is super social, loves being around other kids, and has developed good relationships with the teachers in his mommy and me classes. My general feeling on the topic is that he certainly doesn’t need it at this age but he would really enjoy it and get some things out of it too.
When I went to visit a school the other day I stood there filling out forms and was able to observe one of B’s would be teachers in action. She didn’t know I was there, although I’m not sure that factors in at all as I got the same vibe on my previous visit. In the 10 minutes I watched she managed to completely ignore a little boy who was very upset and crying in the corner. She wasn’t too busy, it seemed to be a conscious choice as it went on for a while and she kept looking over. Then, minutes later, another little boy began hitting a kid. He wasn’t hurting the kid, but please, that is not ok in my opinion. She also ignored this behavior for a while until eventually inviting them both to read a book without addressing the hitting. Neither of these things were earth shattering or grounds to shut down the school or anything, but I left there with an overwhelming feeling of no thank you. It wasn’t just the “incidents”, but in general I just felt like the teachers were stressed, not at all affectionate with the kids, and didn’t want to be there. Perhaps I’m being unfair, I would not want to be stuck in a room with that many 2 year olds either, but I also chose not to be a preschool teacher. Anyways, everything inside of me told me it wasn’t the right environment for my kid.
I cried on the way home because I felt so guilty for potentially sending him to an unloving environment. Then, shazam! I remembered I could just not send him. I decided to check back with one school I had visited before and really liked, and if that didn’t work out then we would just pass on preschool for this year. Previously this school told me he could only go full days. Neither he nor I are remotely ready for, nor do we need that, so I ruled that school out. Well, I’m glad I checked again! Turns out they now have a new director and she said a couple hours a day, a couple days a week would be just fine. We went back to visit again, with my mom along for a sanity check, and I instantly felt right about it.
When we walked in, the kids were all happily playing on the floor with two very engaged and cheerful teachers. There is no “curriculum” which I really like. (Hello, they are 2.) The teachers just observe what the kids are into and then guide the play in that direction. Right now they are really into climbing into things so the teachers brought in several big boxes, and the kids were having a blast. In the process of playing the teachers were explaining positional words to them, like inside, outside, on top of, behind, in between, etc. That is just the way I think kids should learn at this age, almost accidentally while playing. Learning, schmearning though, the main focus at that age is just figuring out how to share, take turns, empathize, clean up together, etc. The teacher told us that kids are allowed to have comfort objects in class (lovies, animals, etc.) and somehow the other kids just know that these special items are different and are not for sharing. I love the little kid social dynamics and I am excited for B to be a part of that.
Anyways, I felt so great about this place that I signed B up on the spot. He will go for a max of 3 hours a day, 3 days a week, so hopefully the transition won’t be too rough on either of us. (Famous last words I’m sure.) The class will be small, 7 kids with 2 teachers. They will play, have a snack, go outside where there is a massive sandbox, read a story/sing a song, have lunch, and then I’ll pick him up.
At least now when I cry about it, it will be for all the normal reasons.