Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Who Moved My Preschool?

The end of this month, marks the end of Trevor's time in preschool. In August, he'll start Kindergarten at the local elementary school. While this transition is one I'm not really ready for (seriously, my 'baby' is ready for the school bus and kindergarten!!!), it is one that I have known is coming. We've been planning for it and talking about it, because Trevor is a planner... he needs to know about change WELL in advance.

In January, Blake started attending the same preschool. Since he turned 3 at the end of December, I felt it would be good for him to start school while he and Trevor could be there together. For 6 months they would both be there, and a large part of me thought that would help Blake transition into going to school. After all, for 1.5 years he's walked into that building 2 or 3 times a week to drop T off, and he knows the teachers and place. So, for the last 5 months they've both been going to school there... and they've both been loving it and thriving and having a grand time.

Because it's a Montessori school, they spend part of the school day together in the same classroom, and part of it in separate classrooms. Part of the Montessori philosophy is putting mixed-age children together so they can learn from each other, and this is one of the things I really enjoy about Montessori schools. I also love that the activities they do while at school are referred to as 'work' - to give them the value and importance that our daily jobs are given (rather than 'play' which isn't always given the meaningful status it should have for a child); and I love that the materials they work with are quality materials, and not a duplicate of all the plastic crappy toys we have at home (not that you can't learn with plastic toys, but it's nice to have something different).

Well, now we've got a new transition to prepare for. Blake will not be back at the Montessori preschool, because she's closing the school. I found this out this morning when dropping Trevor off at school. To say I'm upset is only the tip of the iceberg. There are all of 4 teachers at this school, and I've come to know each of them pretty well and really like and trust them (the latter of which can be hard for me, as a former teacher!).

So, now I must begin the quest for a new preschool. Ugh... it was hard enough the first time around, and I think this time will be harder. First of all, there are few preschools in our area, and the majority of those I know of, are parochial schools. Not our thing around this house...sorry! When I searched 2 years ago for a school, I was interested in trying to find a Montessori school, but I also looked at other schools. Given the last 2 years , I REALLY want to find another Montessori as I think it has done phenomenal things for T (and B could really REALLY benefit from it...possibly more than T has). But there are only 2 or 3 others that are close enough that I can consider, and given that it's May (and registration started in March for most schools) will I find one with any openings? And, oh yeah, it has to fit in with the rest of the family's schedule which next year involves Trevor riding the bus to 1/2 day kindergarten, but I don't know (and don't find out until August) if he's in AM or PM kindergarten to know what his bus schedule is! So how do I plan around that?!?!?

And so my choice of schools for Blake may come down to, what is close enough, has openings, and doesn't conflict with Trevor's bus schedule for Kindergarten. I guess choosing based on staff longevity, teaching philosophy, and my comfort with the school/staff will have to come 2nd to all that "important stuff"!! Oh, and at some point I have to tell Blake that he won't be going back to see Miss Carol in the fall... I wonder how he'll deal with this transition? He's not exactly a predictable child, so I won't try to guess!!

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