We went to a preschool open house this morning. The tension in the air was palpable. You could almost hear the silent mantras of, "Oh god please don't let my kid be the one throwing sand or pitching a fit at the play-dough table or drawing on the wall with a black marker." (...like my kid. Thankfully, it was washable.) Parents were sizing each other up. Children were in their Sunday best. I felt like a zebra on the Serengeti being stalked by lionesses.
This preschool is a co-op and is desirable partly because it is very inexpensive compared to other schools. Desirable to the tune of 500+ applicants for 5 spots. (Lottery selection begins in 2 weeks.) I was talking to one mother who was trying hard to be relaxed about the whole experience, but I got the impression that she would be really disappointed if her child didn't get chosen. Another mother told me that this was the third open house she'd been to this week. Yet another parent shared that searching for a preschool is her current "hobby."
I must be really lazy because I just don't have it in me to make the preschool search a priority in my life. As I have said before, I am not interested in any school that has a wait-list or an application process. We have looked at exactly one preschool and the kids there looked happy. They can take Bunny in the Fall and, bonus, they are less than a mile from our house. And, another bonus: no dreaded co-op duties to cut into my lounging-around-the-house-in-pajamas-drinking-coffee time. I would be bored to tears monitoring the "glitter and glue" center. And I can barely clean up my own house let alone pick-up after 15 three year-olds.
Because I was a teacher, Hippienanny actually suggested that I start a preschool. I'd be the teacher and she'd help out. We'd take in 6 kids, parents would volunteer for various co-op duties, and that would be that. She's soooo enthusiastic and encouraging that way. Heh. Bunny barely listens to me right now, there is no way I could deal with 5 more just like her for 4+ hours a day. I'm half-crazy now and that would surely send me over the edge.
Lately I've been thinking about my own preschool experience. What I remember about preschool is:
- napping on mats
- brushing my teeth after snack
- the dress up area
- the kitchen
- getting sand thrown in my eyes and the teacher washing it out
- the ringing sound of the music teacher's tuning fork
- the Jello-y feel and chalky smell of fingerpaints
- spilling grape juice on my white shorts and my mom getting mad
- wearing a costume to school on Halloween
- getting spanked (yes, spanked) for talking during naptime
- playing, playing, and lots of playing
This shouldn't be that hard.