A week ago we went to a birthday party of Ale’s friend who turned two. It was a lot of fun. The kids were running and playing together. There was a woman who did face painting and made balloon animals. The parents were having beers and chatting. I spoke to a mom who’s daughter just turned three. Her little girl left Ale’s day care and was starting pre-school the following week. This was the moment the party ended for me. I learned that the applications and process to attend pre-school next fall starts now.
We live in New York City. I love New York. I am from New York and I suppose my family will be here for many more years. Unfortunately, New York’s education system is a mess and it’s very much divided by class. If you live in a wealthy school district your public, private and parochial schools will most likely be good. If you live in poorer areas the opposite will occur. Yes, the city has improved over the years to shorten the gap but this is still an issue.
I am fortunate to live in a fantastic school district. My local public school is excellent. As a plus it has an early drop off and after school until 6pm. Unfortunately, it does not offer pre-K and to get into a public pre-K class somewhere in my neighborhood I essentially need a hope and a prayer as the seats are few next to nothing. If my son were to attend a pre-school next year then stay for pre-k for the following year I would have to pay a pretty penny. There are few options for middle-class working families.
This week I made a preliminary list of the pre-schools in my neighborhood. So my hunt is still fresh. There are a few that I like and I know that Ale would thrive in. They are pricey. What upsets me even more than the cost are the hours. Most pre-schools start at 9am and end at 3:30pm. Doors close. Goodby kids. My husband and I both work. I must be at work at 7am and I don’t get home until after 9pm. My husband works 9 to 5. Who is going to drop off and pick up Ale? I would have to hire a nanny – another cost. Some schools offer earlier drop off and extended afternoon hours at an additional cost. Even more money.
Excuse me for this rant but it’s so hard to be a working parent in New York City. I want the best for my child. My husband and I need the two incomes. The pre-schools appear to not want to assist families like mine.
In the end, I know this will all work out because my husband and I will make it work out. We are determined to find a pre-school that is right for us in terms of cost and that will meet our schedules. Until then, we are on the bumpy road to pre-school. Or…. maybe Ale will stay in daycare one more year. Will that really lower his chances to getting into an Ivy League University? 😉