Looking through my email inbox, I see numerous responses to my recent post “Preschool deliberations.” I’ve wanted to acknowledge each one, because all of your comments were very helpful and insightful, and I’m grateful to have feedback from different perspectives! But I’m a little embarrassed to tell you that I haven’t posted about it again simply because we haven’t made a decision. At least, we haven’t had an official decisive moment. But here are the few steps we’ve taken:
-I did put Charlie on the waiting list for the preschool that meets in the nursing home. It’s unlikely that he’ll get in, so it will probably be a nonissue. If he does get in, we can make our final decision then.
-I asked this particular preschool about mid-year enrollment, but the director said, as I could have guessed, that it’s possible but not likely. Typically, all of the kids who go in the fall will continue to go in the winter/spring, so they keep their numbers at the maximum all year. But if a child does move away, or drop out for another reason, they will turn to their waiting list. So a January enrollment is a slight possibility, but not something we can count on.
-I talked to our pediatrician, whom I really like and really respect, and his opinion surprised me. He summed it up by saying, “When you send your child to preschool, you’re sending him out into the world. Why rush that? Why do that sooner than you need to?” He acknowledged that there are social benefits to preschool, of course, but also that certain more rebellious behavior often gets worse once a child starts school.
-Jeff and I have discussed the financial side of the preschool consideration, and it looks like we simply won’t have enough wiggle room in our budget to start preschool this fall. We’re still new to this whole full-time freelancing gig, and money isn’t exactly flowing in. So as much as I hate for money to influence our decision that much, that might just be the way it is.
-I have chatted with friends and weighed the options aloud. I’ve received some great ideas for structured (and cheap) activities to get Charlie involved in, and I’m excited about those opportunities. By this fall, Lillian will no longer be taking morning naps, so it will be nice to have the freedom to take the kids to more playgroups, library story times, moms’ groups, etc.
As much as it doesn’t feel like we’ve made an official decision, I suppose we have. We’ll keep Charlie’s name on the waiting list just in case, but I’ll plan for the fall assuming he will not be starting preschool this year. So for this next year, my goal is to be more deliberate about getting us out of the house and into the lives of the people in our world. We’ll plan to start Charlie in preschool the following year, fall 2011, and then he’ll start kindergarten at age 5 1/2, in fall 2012.
Thanks again for all of your great responses! If you have any further thoughts, please do send them my way!