Last week I got a call from the registrar at the playschool in our neighbourhood. I e-mailed her on a whim at the end of April. We didn’t go to the open house, but the building is directly behind our house (we can walk there in less than two minutes!) so I figured it was worth a shot. They were full, so Topher was #1 on the wait list. Now he’s in.
So it’s decision time!
We’re down to two options:
- The playschool. Classes are MWF, 9:00-11:00 a.m. It’s a parent co-op, which means I have to do toy cleanings and one volunteer day each month (and find a babysitter for Ellie!) – but it’s so close! I can walk Topher to school so we don’t have to get up early to drive Nathan to work in order to have the car. I don’t have to worry about driving in the winter (which can be somewhat sketchy in Edmonton!). Ellie’s naps won’t be affected, since she’s starting to give up her morning naps. It’s cheaper, by about $60/month. But we’ve never been there, we don’t know anybody who has sent their children there, and we didn’t go to the open house.
- The preschool at our church. Classes are TTh, 9:15-12:15. There are no parent volunteer days and no toy cleanings, which explains the higher price. We know the teachers, we know lots of people who have sent their children there – but it’s more expensive, further away, and having to drop Nathan off and pick him up from work seriously hinders Ellie’s nap time. Topher is also directly opposed to attending preschool there, since they don’t have a water table and a sand table and apparently that’s very important.
Decisions, decisions …
Nathan wants him to go to the preschool at our church, Topher wants to go anywhere but, and I have no idea why the decision falls to me. Maybe because I’l be the one dropping him off and picking him up? Topher’s going to a morning day camp at church next week during the same time slot his preschool will be, so I’m using it as a test run. Either way, the decision needs to be made by August 11th.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s silly of me to make such a big deal about it. I mean, it’s just playschool, it’s not like he’s going to learn anything, right? He already knows his letters and numbers, he’s reading a little bit – it’s more for socialization than anything, right?
It’s just that it’s his first experience of school, and I want it to be a good one. My first day certainly set the stage for the rest of my school years …
I’ve always been tiny – I think I weighed less than 30 lbs when I started school. Someone who was familiar with the kids in my class switched my tiny desk with another student’s – a girl who happened to be the largest in our class and quite possibly the largest in the entire school. I needed help to climb into the chair, I could barely see over the top of the desk – and everyone was laughing.
Everyone except me and Danielle, who couldn’t fit into my chair.
Until that moment I had never realized how little I was. I was the youngest in my family, so of course I was the smallest! But that day I was embarrassed about my size – embarrassed, period! – for the first time. Not a pleasant experience for a four-year-old.
I know I can’t hold on to Topher forever. I know things are going to happen to him that I can’t control that will shape his life. And it terrifies me. I think that’s why I’m so worried about picking the “right” school: I want to control as much as I can, for as long as I can.
What do you remember about your first day of school?