Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Perils of PreK

Yesterday we took Zane and went to St. Monica's School.  They were having an open house, and we wanted to check it out.  St. Monica has a 3 year old PreK, but there's usually a waiting list, so this was our opportunity to get on "the list". 

If we had any doubts that Zane would be interested in school, they were laid to rest as soon as he entered the classroom.  He didn't wait one second to be cautious, but took off as soon as we opened the door.  He ran right to the globe, picked it up, and tried to bounce it.  The world did bounce a tiny bit before Larry got it and put it back into the stand.  Zane spent the next hour running all over the place, looking excitedly at toys, posters, desks, basketball hoops, lights, and many other things.  Larry got to chase him around while I asked questions and filled out forms and let the administrators make copies of Zane's shot records, birth certificate and baptismal certificate. (which for some reason affronted my mother, who wanted to know why they needed a baptismal certificate if Zane was baptized at St. Monica's church) 

They wanted a check for the registration fee and an application fee. I thought it would be about 50$.  No.   Grand total would be 260$.     Nonrefundable.   And they have printed over every piece of paper in the registration packet that registering was no guarantee that Zane would be accepted.  Now, why on earth would a sane person plop down that much money in this day and age just for someone to essentially LOOK at an application?  And even if Zane was accepted, he's not potty trained right now and there's no way to know if he will be by age three, and the school doesn't accept kids who aren't potty trained.  Sheesh. 

Zane had a complete blast, and it was clear to us that he needs more educational stimulation than what he is getting right now. He needs to be in a structured setting with other kids so he picks up those vital social skills that you just can't learn from a book or from homeschooling.  But is my boy ready for PreK?  Maybe not.  He's an October birthday, so he won't be starting Kindergarten until the year after he turns five because he doesn't make the August cutoff date for Kinder.  Then there is his speech and language development to consider.  He is behind in expressive language, which would likely improve in a school setting.  But Zane tends to tantrum if he can't get his point across, and would probably haul off and belt the unfortunate student or teacher who didn't understand him.  That sort of behavior doesn't make you valedictorian material. So much to think about, and the boy isn't even three yet!

My central thought since I became a parent is to do what is in the best interest of my child.  So Larry and I have decided that it would be okay for Zane to be in a daycare setting instead of starting PreK, so he can get a lot more 'seasoning' before he starts school.  After all, he'll be in school for at least the next 12 years plus college.  Lots of time for the pressures of homework and test scores and sitting upright at a desk for hours pretending to listen to boring lectures.  We decided that it's okay for him to be a child for a little while longer. 

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