Monday, October 01, 2012

First Day of Preschool

The whole process of figuring out preschool in Manhattan has been a nightmare. None of the options are ideal - too expensive, too long, impossible to get in to...  I had resigned myself to the fact that public Pre-K would be fine and although I'd be sending her essentially one year early to public school AND she'd be there for the full day, she would thrive and it would give me some 1-on-1 time with Colton. So, last March I registered her with the NY Department of Education and put her name in to the lottery for the 3 schools within a reasonable walking distance of our home. I figured she wouldn't get in to our zoned school but every one kept telling me that she would get in somewhere. 'It will all work out!' was what everyone said. Really though, all I wanted was for Sadie to be able to go to preschool for 3 hours a day 3-5 days a week. I mean, it's preschool. Since I'll be sending her to kindergarten at age 4 (the cutoff for NYC Public Schools is December 31), I didn't necessarily want her to be gone all day since it is my last year to spend my days with her and I worked a lot during her first 3 years of life.

Fast forward to June and I see an email come through shortly after midnight (I had just been up with Colton) from the DOE. I of course knew we were to be finding out about Pre-K that week so I opened the email - big mistake! It kindly informed me that Sadie didn't get in to Pre-K and of course, I couldn't sleep after that. I wanted to touch base with all of her other friends to see if they had gotten in somewhere. Anyway, it was a long night and a horrible next day. Most of her friends had gotten in somewhere and I was devastated. It was a lottery based on priorities, so it wasn't as though the DOE was turning down the intellectuality of my child, but I still felt like they were. Anyway, I put her name on wait lists and have been calling and stopping in to her zoned school to try to see if I could get her in (a friend said I was guaranteed to get her in that way). Well, everyone was wrong. It wasn't working out. I have an issue with paying $15,000 - $25,000 for private preschool. Plus private preschool applications begin a year ahead of time. I knew I could probably have scrambled and found a spot at a private preschool, but that wasn't an option. Ugh! Anyway, a friend of mine ended up sending me information for a woman who was starting a preschool alternative in our neighborhood (more or less). I decided to look into it. From the first visit I fell in love with the little school. The cost was much more affordable and quite a good bang for your buck even in rural America. The class size was small (capped at 6) and the flexibility was awesome. Sadie loved it, I loved it and it just seemed right. So, we gave the wait list at the public school another 2 weeks and enrolled Sadie in Little Ducklings beginning today. She has been so excited to start school and I'm excited to see how much she will learn and grow.  Last night we painted her nails and picked out her clothes in preparation for the first day. Watching her makes me remember the butterflies and the excitement of starting school! It only lasted one day, but never fail I picked out my first day of school outfit the night before and felt like a million bucks the next day because I was always wearing a favorite new outfit. Sadie wasn't wearing anyway brand new per se, but she was excited for what she was wearing. We walked up to school today (it's about .9 miles each way) and I stopped her before we went in to the building to snap a first day of school picture. She happily obliged but after giving me a nice pose and smile twice she said she was done and wanted to go inside! I can't believe I have a little preschooler. Where did my baby go? Colton and I hopped across the street to the park after dropping Sadie off and took a quick swing before heading home for a nap.

My cute little preschooler, 6 days shy of turning 4.