Yesterday I began my search for a suitable preschool for my daughter. My wife and I have obviously not waited until now to start thinking about preschools, it’s just that now I am logistically getting down to brass tacks (so to speak).
My search criteria has two main areas of concern: constants and variables. The constants are givens that we won’t budge on: the school has to have a valuable curriculum; it has to be nice (and clean); I have to feel that the little one would be safe there; and it has to be a place she would be comfortable in. The variables are dynamic, and a little harder to keep track of since every place will be different: how close a place is to our house; if they have open enrollment or not; the schedule (Are two or three day a week schedules available- what about half days?); and of course, price. All are being considered. The constants are pretty easy to judge—either a place is nice or it’s not. The real trick is finding a place that fits the variables we need.
One has to get out and mix it up to see what’s really going on. So yesterday I went to our first preschool tour. I went to a place, well, let’s just call it Crazy Town. It was crazy nice. Super clean, with plenty of space in the classroom and lots of play areas. It even had an inside playscape for rainy days with one of those things that kids jump around in with balls in it. (Jumpy ball castle?) Of course the little one loved it. The tour lady made the mistake of showing us the outside play area, where the little one tried to run out and start playing immediately. She almost cried when I told her we had to leave. Sounds nice, huh? However, the most crazy part was the price. I showed my wife the info when she got home. Her initial reaction was pleased.
“$156 for three days a week? Nice, why is it so cheap?”
“No, honey. That’s not for the month. That’s per week.”
After the little one and I left the preschool, we went for a nap drive to the mall as I tried to get over the sticker shock. Later, when she woke up, a bleary-eyed little one said in a little voice, “I want to go to my school…” Uh oh. It looks like I’m going to need some extra money coming in real soon. Maybe there are some freelance writing jobs out there…
Did you have trouble finding a daycare or preschool? If not, what were the biggest conveniences you found?