Even though it was Ale’s day off from pre-school we joined them for today’s field trip. How could we pass up a visit to the local firehouse on 11th street!
The firefighters were happy to welcome the group of twenty – three and four year olds. As a token of our appreciation we first we gave them a bag of homemade cookies. Then we got right to it and asked them our research questions.
How does the water get into the hose? How do you learn how to be a firefighter? Do you ever have scared feelings? Do you go down a pole? What is the best thing about being a fireman? How do you know where the emergency is?
After this fascinating Q&A session the kids were allowed to climb into the fire truck!
Suddenly, the alarm sounded calling out the number of the fire truck – engine 220. The firemen looked at each other and politely asked us to go with urgency in their voices. We all ran out of the firehouse to make room for the truck to leave. The firemen then jumped into the truck and sped off. We looked at them go in awe and waved saying “Be safe. Thank you!”. After the truck turned the corner we slowly made our way over to a resturant for pizza amazed at their bravery and generosity.
It’s the end of February in New York City. This means the pre school application process is coming to an end. All three of my pre school applications were sent in. Then I got notice that the school that I loved and wanted Ale to attend did not offer him a space. I was heartbroken. I received an email cordially informing us that we have been placed on the wait list. It continued to tell us not to worry there is still hope. The list moves throughout the spring and summer. I was resolved to wait.
Thank goodness my husband was quick to think and look again into a new school that fell off of our radar. The school is close to home, has the hours we need and the price is not outrageous. The deadline was at the end of the week. I called the director spoke with her for twenty minutes and was impressed. Plus they had two seats left in the upcoming three’s class!! She was kind enough to hold one for Ale. She did not give me the runaround. She was a mom like me and understood my frustrations with the New York City pre school process. Amazing!
To make the story sweeter Max- Ale’s best toddler buddy from his current day care will be going to this pre school as well! Win! Win!
Good things come to those who wait — and who do not give in to the crazy NYC pre school pressures!
Here are other posts I wrote about our rocky journey into New York City pre schools:
Pre School Crunch Time
Pre Schools Don’t Like Working Families
Its January, so for moms of two year old children across my neighborhood in Brooklyn this means that the pre-school applications are due by the end of the month to snag a seat in September.
I am so frustrated by the entire process and the cost that is attached to it in high application fees (up to $100 to apply for limited spots) that I am only planning to apply to three schools. Some moms on my block may tell me that I have lost my mind. The general consensus is to apply to around ten schools. This is to secure a seat in at least one and get on a wait list for others.
This all sounds like Ale is applying for college. There are even pre-schools with early admissions processes!! Its insane. I fell into the peer pressure from other moms in my daycare to take our children out at three years old and send them off to a preschool by September. Its insane because at the end of the day all of the programs are play based with a bit more structure than Ale is getting now. I am continuously questioning if this is all worth it. I know for sure that I want Ale to attend a pre-K program to get ready for kindergarten but I wonder how important pre-school is for the “academic” growth of a three year old child.
When I attend preschool open houses there are parents that ask a myriad of questions- regarding the school, how they will decipline their little angel, if the food that is served is organic, and how potty training is handled. If you’ve seen one fancy daycare you have seen them all. They all offer, Spanish, yoga, and organic hot dogs. I just want to know how much I have to pay a month and when are the drop off and pick up times. If the cost and the times do not follow our working parent schedules then I walk out the door. Simple as that.
My fear is that since it looks like all of Ale’s friends will be leaving the current daycare in September he will be the big kid surrounded by 18 month olds. Perhaps I should succumb to the peer pressure simply because these are the “norms” here, and Ale has the potential to be left behind socially.
Maybe our new Mayor Bill de Blasio will indeed institute universal pre-k in time for Ale when he is four years old if I just hold out a bit longer. Can I take that chance?
Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt:
Monday, January 6, 2014
Tell us about a time you bent to peer pressure.
Pre-Schools Don’t Like Working Families
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? 😉