PRESCHOOL. The word is everywhere I look or listen lately. It’s actually annoying me a lot. With the start of the new school year, friends, family and virtual strangers seem to be very concerned about the beginnings of LadyP’s education: “Are you starting her in preschool? Where are you sending her to preschool? Have you heard of this new preschool right by your house?” My answers, respectively: “No. Nowhere. No.” Thanks, next subject?
Oh, I must be terribly neglectful… or I’m just the only one who’s not afraid to confidently rebel against the masses. My ‘filosophy’ (get it, fab-philosophy?): No preschool for my baby girl who is barely turning TWO at the end of September. NO. PRESCHOOL. FOR. US. BECAUSE. SHE’S. BARELY. TWO. At least for now.
Since I don’t work full-time and am pretty much home MOST of the time (unless a random freelance job pops up), it’s just not worth it. Monetarily and logically. (Although this summer I did I stick LadyP in a dance class only because I was so damn excited to see her wiggle her tush in a tutu… But that’s kind of it for us.)
For working moms, I TOTALLY get it. Preschool is the most fab answer you could ask for. Yes! Please! Take my tot at 2! You gotta put that kid somewhere safe and productive while you’re bringing in the moola. But I’m actually finding that many stay-at-home moms are pushing their two year olds out the door too. They look at me like I’m depriving my daughter when I say we’re not starting the process yet. Is preschool-at-TWO the norm now? How long has this pressure to enroll your TWO year old in preschool been going on? Since when is preschool an expected requirement for a TWO year old, just like kindergarten is a requirement once a kid hits 5? Maybe it’s an LA thing? Or is it a competitive parent thing: Enrolling your kid early will make them geniuses?
My sister and mom are teachers (kindergarten and elementary) so I know how important is for children to be properly socialized so that they know how to sit in a class, be quiet, be respectful of others, etc. Seriously. I don’t take classroom etiquette and good behavior lightly. But….. does preschool accomplish those things at the age of TWO?!?!?!? And what about those playdates, family gatherings with a handful of kids her age, birthday parties and jam-packed [hellish] indoor play areas we go to? Aren’t those activities considered ‘early socialization?’ I’m continuously surprised how more and more stay-at-home moms I meet have their 2 years olds booked SOLID 5 days a week. Again, I ask…. at TWO?!?!?!?? What happens if they have one day at home? Chaos? Boredom? Confusion? Worse?
Maybe we’re missing out, but my gut screams that preschool does not make sense for us at the age of TWO. My filosophy translates into this: More one-on-one bonding, learning about (and how to deal with, if/when she has a toddler flip-out), teaching, singing, playing, dancing, giggling, tickling, time-outing, picture-taking and just plain getting to know LadyP as my daughter, friend and mini-me. We read, we A-B-C, we count (as her biased mom I’ll share that as of yesterday she does know how to count to 15 now). She’s actually really funny to hang out with. To sound totally schmaltzy: These moments are precious. This is IT. And from what I’m told, ‘IT’ goes by way too fast. I’m taking full advantage of my current mostly-at-home situation and trying to make it memorable and valuable for all of us (sending LadyP out of the house a few days a week also wouldn’t foster the special relationship that I see forming before my very eyes between LadyP and LilMiss). Preschool just does not seem worth it at the age of TWO… and I’m not letting myself cave to the pressure of preschool-palooza. Maybe we’ll enroll next year, maybe I’ll get a full-time job tomorrow and enroll her right away… who knows. But for now: NO. So what if others are doing it. I’m not stressing. And SO WHAT if LadyP happens to be the ONLY munchkin currently enrolled in her new dance class. Sure, it’d be enjoyable if others were enrolled in the class too, but screw constant socialization if it doesn’t happen. Let her enjoy dancing by her lonesome for 45 minutes each week – at TWO – and be fabulous. It’s probably the only time in her life she’ll have the chance.
ARE YOU REBELLING AGAINST THE PRESCHOOL-AT-TWO PRECEDENT?