Preschool, Second Time Around

January 12, 2008 at 9:34 pm Leave a comment

I’m a typical 21st-century New York parent who obsesses about her children’s welfare, especially their education. I’ve seen and heard about too many educational settings that are not good enough. For example, my son is very bright but fidgety, so he suffered through kindergarten with a teacher who had low tolerance for a wide range of common 5- to 6-year-old behaviors. I and other parents raised objections at many points along the way, but there’s only so much a parent can do once the school year begins.

From that sometimes-painful year I learned that my kid needs time and space to adjust to the structures of a class each year, and above all, he needs teachers who understand that. I suspect this is the case for most kids. Sad but true, many schools do not operate with a child-friendly attitude, so it takes some research and experience to become an “educated consumer.” We got lucky and found a school that imparts learning in fun and nurturing ways; two years later, my son’s confidence level and learning quotient are markedly improved, even if he still has his ansty moments.

As my daughter transitions into a preschool program in Forest Hills, I’m glad that I can apply my hard-earned learning curve to her first educational experience, which started a week and a half ago. It’s the same preschool my son went to, where he benefited from its simplicity, warmth, and focus on children. And the process of enrolling her was easy because “out here” in Forest Hills, getting a child into a preschool program isn’t something you have to plan while the kid is in utero or so costly as to force you into either/or financial choices.

My son started preschool when he was 3.5. My daughter is a year younger because I feel more confident with #2. I also feel more confident expressing any concerns I have, such as my fear that my daughter will have to learn some unruly behaviors to keep up with kids whose impulsivity is not yet in check. I know some parents are all for such sink-or-swim lessons, but I’m not one of them. Holding on to your things is one thing; hitting and pushing back is another. I prefer my kids to cut their teeth in a culture of kindness and consideration, though I know I am fighting an uphill battle, especially as they grow older. Fortunately, once I expressed my concerns to the teachers, I saw attentiveness to this issue the very next day. I need to stay on top of things; my job as a parent doesn’t stop just because I’ve dropped her off into the care of others. But at least she’s a in place where my voice can be heard.

So here I am, the mother of a preschooler, again. Different kid, different mom (I’m 4 years older), and consequently a slightly altered perspective on raising a child in Forest Hills. So far, so good.

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Entry filed under: education, for small kids, Forest Hills.

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