First Day of Preschool – Take 2

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Chloe attended her first day at her new preschool this week. After much agonizing and self-doubt I withdrew her from her first preschool, even though I didn’t have a replacement in mind. My instincts and observations told me it wasn’t the right place, and as soon as I made the phone call, I felt relieved.

Before this experience, I didn’t understand why parents made such a big deal about preschool. All those stories about signing up for wait-lists in utero, or cut-throat admissions seemed ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for preschool. My own preschool experience (what I remember of it) was stellar. I guess I thought all preschools were similar… but they definitely are not.

In short, it took hours of online searching and several phone calls to find out that by this time most preschools were either: A) Full with a wait-list, B) Not what I wanted, C) Too far away or D) Too expensive. Then a friend mentioned there might be a spot at her school (which I had originally catorgorized as likely both A, C and D), but it ended up working out after all. Whew!

And here is a surprise realization I had during my research into preschool – my academic expectations for Chloe are very high. As a matter of fact, I can’t believe how little kids are expected to know when they enter Kindergarten. Just as part of our everyday, Chloe gets opportunities to count and add, practice writing and drawing, observe colors and shapes, and read (together). It seems like their sponge-like brains could easily pick up certain basics, but I’m finding out that preschool is more about developing social skills, communication and exploration through play.

Anyway, Chloe enjoyed her first day very much. She acclimated quickly and I didn’t feel any of the anxiety I felt previously. I still plan on giving her academic opportunities at home, but now I’m finally confident she’s in a healthy environment we can both look forward to.

PS – I you have any doubts about the importance of preschool, here is an article about why preschool matters and a podcast on NPR The Case for Preschool.

“Those who go to preschool will go on to university, will have a graduate education, and their income level will radically improve.” –Wall Street Journal

“In the long run, the gift of money is that it gives a child constant access to a world of stimulation and enrichment, thus allowing her to fulfill her genetic potential.” –Wired

Children who attend high-quality preschool enter kindergarten with better pre-reading skills, richer vocabularies, and stronger basic math skills than those who do not. –Parents


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