Monday, February 23, 2009

School Days

It's February. The air is brisk, the trees are bare, and it's preschool enrollment time. We've been to two open houses in the last two days in the attempt to find the best preschool for Owen.

I selected these schools because my friends with older children recommended them. More importantly, I selected these schools because they are close to the magic triangle of my life: gym-library-Starbucks. If I am going to have two mornings a week with only one kiddo, than you better believe I will indulge at least one, if not all, of these pleasures.

Both schools are plenty nice---colorful, comfortable, and staffed by caring, child-centered individuals. One is a co-op, meaning that it costs less, and in exchange parents are expected to be part of the program---cleaning, being "Parent of the Day," making snack, etc. The other program is affiliated with one of the local Catholic parishes, and seems to be a little more academic. Owen would thrive in either place.

I'm inclined to do the Catholic one, because I think that the more moral/spiritual edification my darling gets, the better. Additionally, I like that it meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, (instead of Thursday and Friday--goodbye long weekends!).

Now, I just need to hope that there's a place for Owen. Parishioners and siblings of students get first dibs. There are only twelve spots. I just have to trust that O will end up where he's supposed to be.

One thing that was odd about the open house experience was being The Parent. I'm very accustomed to being The Teacher. I can soothe, pander, explain, assert needs, or lay it on the line. Some parents require a bit of flattery. Others respect candor. Some are on your side. Some want to pick a fight. Some have been so burned by their own schooling that just walking through the door of the building makes them feel small and helpless. Others just want to be heard. All of the parents, in their own way, love their kids and want to help.

And now, just like that, I'm The Parent. I don't know if I made an impression on the teachers at all as I asked questions about curriculum, management, expectations, scheduling. My goal is that I want to help when needed, go away when its best, and to work with his teachers to shape Owen into the person he deserves to be.

It's a strange shift, being The Parent. Although I've been a teacher my entire adult life, I think Owen's education will be my education, too. I'm ready to learn.

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