There is this documentary called Nursery University that came out in 2009. The filmmakers followed New York City parents of toddlers (yes, under 3's) as they navigated the rigors of the uber exclusive and highly competitive private preschools. The parents profiled were mostly successful, highly educated, and of course, most were wealthy...very very wealthy. They showed the open house/information sessions at the various private preschools and to be honest, being "in education" there wasn't anything new or groundbreaking going on with those schools. There was, however, a reputation that was associated with certain programs and so these parents did just about anything they could think of to get their child (or in one case a set of twins) on the roster.
Bry and I watched it together and both spent most of the time just shaking our respective heads. How could one spend so much on preschool? It's just finger painting and blocks, not medical or law school, however these parents acted as if it was the quest for the holy grail.
Your kid is 3.
Well, I had my own little moment of worry the past weekend.
We looked into school for Mo. Yes, my little girl will be starting preschool in September and for the past 48 hours I was worried.
There is a lovely little nursery school in our town run by a church. It is small only 2.25 hours per day twice a week. Exactly what I had in mind for my lovie girl. After speaking to numerous neighbors and getting the tour, we decided that this would be the best place for Mo. I found out though, that it seems to be the place others think would be the best place for their kids too! There are only two classes of 16 kids- 32 spots.
Sounds like enough, right?
If one had a sibling in the school, registration could happen a few days early. Also, there were two classes of 2.5 year olds who also will be eligible for the three year old class. They too get to register early.
Open registration was a week later, this past Tuesday.
My good friend Danielle also has an almost 3 year old and she too wants her daughter to be in this class. Danielle grew up in Manhattan and when I discussed the Nursery University documentary she laughed. Her own experience as a toddler was similar to that of the kids in the program.
We discussed our plan of action, trying to come up with a way to ensure that our girls "get in". Since the office was scheduled to open at 8:30 on Tuesday, we decided that 30 minutes before, 8:00 would be a good time to meet up in the parking lot to venture in together. We joked about the different scenarios that could occur, laughing about the possibility of a line forming outside the church like a rock concert or the possibility that there would only be one spot left and we'd have to fight it out.
Then it snowed, and hailed, and some freezing rain caused a two hour delay and our plan halted. I woke up thinking, would the school be open or delayed? What time should I get there? Should we still meet so early? After talking to Bry who suggested calling to see if the school was open, the director was in- before 8 and said to "come on over". I texted Danielle and amidst frozen, icy trees and streets, I cleaned off the car and headed over to the church. As I pulled into the parking lot, a few minutes after 8 I noticed only Danielle's minivan in the lot. She had texted me to let me know she was there. As I walked up the stairs to the third floor, I heard laughter and lo & behold Danielle was the first one in line, making me number two in line. We handed in our applications and deposits and made a little small talk. Then, the director more or less told us we were good to go. She suggested we tour the classrooms as the school was closed for the day. Danielle and I took our time as we looked at the rooms and art work and toys. As we walked into the first room, we heard footsteps on the stairs. Number 3 in line, and then as we walked into more rooms kids 4,5, 6, etc...
As we left the school just after 8:30 we both laughed about our neurosis. It's easy to laugh now, that she's number two on the list. I guess now it's time to get on the potty training and wait for the formal informational letter because school starts at 9 O'clock and she can't be late!