Preschool – who knew it would be so stressful???

Spence started PDO at the age of 20 months. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, PDO refers to Parents’ Day Out. It’s a 4-hour stretch where you can leave your child (usually held at a church)  with loving childcare so that you can have one morning to run errands or take a shower without munchkins joining you. For the stay-at-home mom (or dad), it’s a life-saver! And some folks are fortunate enough to sign up for 2 days a week!

When Spence started, he couldn’t make it 4 hours. It ran into his usual naptime, and he was simply uncontrollable when he got home. So I picked him up at noon instead. It still gave me 3 hours to do my volunteer work or clean the house or simply have some ME time. Spence absolutely adored his teachers so that this past year he was able to attend the full 4 hours and he always looked forward to going.

That’s why when it came time last January to sign him up for preschool, I never hesitated. I knew I was signing him up for PDO rather than an “official” preschool program. He would be changing classrooms, but I’d heard how they work on phonetics and yet they play and have fun. Overall, it’s supposed to be a great program in lieu of preschool.

Unfortunately, they moved Spence up to the 3-yr old room this summer without warning us. It makes sense since he’s 3 and potty trained, but we thought he’d get to spend the summer with his favorite teachers downstairs. I especially didn’t like the lack of warning. John and I would have prepared Spence for the change had we known. But I left him and hoped for the best. The main teacher and administrator promised me that Spence could go downstairs if he really wasn’t happy.

He survived, but since that first day, Spence has come home twice saying that he doesn’t like his teachers. I’m giving it time and hoping that he’s simply missing his 2 and under teachers because he loved them so much. But I also have my own doubts about the program. Spence always comes home with a “perfect” art piece. Basically the teachers have pre-cut any necessary pieces and the kids are doing an advanced “sticker” project with glue. I’d rather see him (1) cutting odd shaped noses and eyes himself and (2) gluing them into a Picasso rather than a perfectly placed face. Spence already shows signs of being a perfectionist. I don’t need him to think that everything he creates must be perfect. (Case in point: for the summer reading program at the library, he gets to color in a dinosaur bone for every book he reads. He wants John or me to color them so they’ll be neat and within the lines rather than coloring them himself!)

So, while I’m hoping he’ll get used to the new teachers and decide to stay, I’ve begun the search for a preschool. This is much more difficult than it sounds. Remember when I said I made the decision LAST JANUARY? That’s right – registration takes place in January or February for almost all of the schools so that at this point in time the best I can do is get on waiting lists. For one of the public schools in our district it’s simply too late – there’s zero chance of getting in. We’re 3rd on the waiting list for Trinity, which is a great program from what I hear. We’re first on the wait list for St. Peter’s. But I realized after signing him up that the parent-teacher ratio for St. Peter’s is 10-1, and that’s not what we want.

I’m frustrated and so unsure of what to do. We can’t afford Montessori schools, although they generally follow the philosophy of what we want for our kids. So we have to find second best. I’m just not sure if second best is good enough. I’m beginning to think the PDO program was our best solution.  But now that it’s being rejected, what do I do? I guess I just keep searching and praying…

 

In the meantime, here are some completely unrelated photos just to put a happy note on this otherwise dreadful post. I hope I’ll return with a happier post later this week!

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