Tuesday was the annual “Preschool Preview” for all the Alexandria parents.
Yes, we will be sending Ethan to preschool next fall, at the early age of two and a half. Isn’t that nuts??!
I was shocked to find out how early toddlers start school. It never occurred to me that two year olds would be heading to anything other than Gymboree, daycare, or a birthday party. At first, we decided Ethan would need to be held back…after all, he was a preemie. But now that he’s forming full sentences, singing songs, running circles around us, and right on track, we figure he’s going to be ready come next September.
The next hurdle was figuring out what preschool would be right for him. I mean, my ONLY goal at this point is to raise a happy, well-rounded kid. I don’t care which senator sends his kids where or which preschool is a feeder to which elementary school. Sure, I want him to be smart and have a great education, but I mostly just want Ethan to be Ethan.
So, off I went to the “Preview”. And after hearing stories from many friends who attended the event last year, I was expecting, well, the worst. I mean, as soon as you say your pregnant, no matter where you live, you start hearing horror stories about getting into preschools—years of waiting lists and checks written under the table. And how many sitcoms have humorously covered this ordeal? (Last year’s Modern Family preschool episode comes to mind…)
Therefore, I pictured moms clawing their way to the front of booths, preschool directors looking down their noses at any two year olds not standing quietly at attention, and hushed comments about anyone not dressed in designer duds.
As I dragged Ethan through the door, both of us clad in our Old Navy and H&M glory, I braced myself to not fit in.
Of course, my imagination had gone a little overboard. I walked into a room full of friendly, low-key pre-school representatives proudly manning their booths. I really enjoyed talking to so many of them, learning that the competitive nature of the Alexandria pre-schools is usually nothing we can control. Most admit using lottery or first-come-first-serve systems, not bank accounts or celebrity recommendations. Whew!!!
I ran into quite a few Old Town friends, all there enjoying the very well organized and incredibly helpful event. Our kids had a blast playing with the toys that some very smart representatives had set up in front of their booth.
In just over an hour, most of which I was completely distracted by wrangling Ethan, I fell in love with two preschools! I’ll be scheduling tours in the coming weeks and can’t wait to find out if we get in…I’ll probably be choosing a backup as well, just in case. Good thing there are plenty of good ones to choose from. (And if it’s waiting-list city for a September start, waiting another few months won’t hurt anything.)
While I won’t say at this point which ones I liked, I will say that we are focusing our search on Cooperative schools and Montessori schools. They seem to be right up our alley and I love the idea of parent involvement. I think they will help Ethan be who he wants to be.
I mean, who would want to change this?
So in a couple months, we’ll be sending in applications and crossing one more thing off our long lists of year-end tasks!
Did you go or are you going through this process? How was your experience?