I’m already running late, or would be if I had any interest in putting D1 into preschool. After all, she’ll be a towering three-year-old this fall. Open houses are already over and applications are due in soon. (This is not for those high-powered preschools you apply for in the delivery room, just ordinary neighborhood preschools.)
Our church is providing space for a local public school Montessori program. Sometimes I sneak into the rooms and drool over the neat little shelves with tidy little activities, or flip through the books that tell what the different children have been learning. It does look like so much fun. And sometimes I wonder if the daily struggle for survival here is really worth as much as the $2,800 a year at preschool would cost.
But then, what would she be doing? She could be scrubbing toys at the water table to increase diligence and small motor skills, or she could be washing real dishes in our real sink. She could be playing with sand for tactile stimulation and spatial perception, or she could be mixing potting soil to plant our garden. She could be sorting toys, or unloading the dishwasher. She could be listening to books the teacher chose for the whole class, or she could be listening to books she chose from a carefully-built selection designed especially for her. She could be learning to get along in brief encounters with a roomful of children, or learning how to get along all day with that most feared of social entities, the little brother.
In short, everything she could be doing at preschool is exactly what she would be doing at home, except that it would be less meaningful, less real, and less significant. She would be praised for being diligent at purely arbitrary tasks, instead of being praised as a contributing member of the family.
Besides, we couldn’t get along without her.