Take Time to Research and Find the Right Fit
Published: May 10, 2006
Waiting by the phone has taken on a whole new meaning for me at this stage of my life. When I was young and single, it meant waiting for that really cute guy that I had just met to call me. Now I wait by the phone to see if the preschool that I so desperately want to get my son in to will call. And because I am waiting and mentally willing the phone to ring, Murphy’s Law prevails and it just won’t.
My son was just over two when I was advised by a friend that I should think about registering him for preschool. I had laughed at this notion, as I had not even begun to think about any sort of schooling for my son until he was at least four. But the more mothers I spoke to about it, the more I realized that not only do many mothers have their children in preschool by the time they are three, but most mothers have their children registered or on a waiting list for a preschool by the time they are two.
One particular preschool, whose program is strongly based on academics, recently opened up registration this past fall. As I was still in the undecided phase as to my thoughts of preschool, I faltered and let the day of registration slip by. The next day at my son’s gym class, I found out that I was one of the only few mothers who hadn’t registered my child in this preschool. I was mortified. What had I done? I ran home that day and registered him. I had naively thought that one day late should not make that much of a difference. After all, how many children could there be enrolling in this preschool?
Two weeks went by and finally the phone rang from the school informing me that not only was he not enrolled for the program, but that he was number fifty on a waiting list. My heart sank at the news. What a bad mother I had been to have become so negligent with my son’s education. Now he won’t be in the right preschool, and if he’s not in the right preschool, he won’t be in the right elementary school, and you can forget about secondary and university....his whole educational
career flashed before my eyes.
If you have ever seen the movie “Baby Boom”, there is a scene in it, in which Diane Keaton’s character who is new to motherhood, is at the park with her baby and is talking with the other moms about preschool. She is asked which programs her baby is registered in. Her reply was “none” – to which all the other mothers laughed. “Oh you’re screwed” said one woman, and another patted her pregnant tummy and said, “This one is already on a waiting list”. And much like life imitating art – I found myself in the exact predicament. How could I have not seen this coming?
I became obsessed with finding another preschool that would benefit my son. I set out researching all the preschools in my area. And I finally found one that seemed to be a good fit. It was a program that focused more on learning through playing and socializing. I had heard really good things about it from other mothers too. And while many people were nursing their hang overs on New Year’s Day, I was registering my son on the phone, to ensure that his name was on the list for this preschool.
Two days went by and I received a call from the second preschool informing me that my son had been accepted to register. We later went for a visit to understand the program and to meet the teacher. My son played with trucks, shoveled sand and sat in a reading circle with other children to look at books. It was then that I understood that preschool is a time to “get ready” for school. What is important to me is that he learns to socialize and play with others, and that he learns to
listen and take direction. And I want him to have fun doing it. As long as you know that your child is enjoying the program and that is supports your values; that is what truly matters. My son and I returned home that day very happy, and I was content that we had found a perfect fit for him. I realized I had wanted the first preschool merely because everyone else did, and hadn’t even taken the time to research it beforehand. I now know that it wouldn’t have been the right one for him at this stage of his life.
As it turns out, the first preschool did finally call the other day after three months, to advise me that a spot had opened up for my son. And deep down inside there was a part of me that was secretly happy, but much like the cute guy who finally decided to call, it no longer mattered – and that too – is Murphy’s Law.