Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Transition to Preschool

One of the best parts of our month long trip to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica was enrolling the boys into Seaheart Waldorf Preschool.
Resistant to most of the early learning programs--and associated costs--here in Manhattan, I was eager to explore the Waldorf play-based method and see how my children would respond to 'school', especially a bilingual one.

My (then) 25-month-old twins hadn't had much time away from mommy and the transition to their nanny had been a very long one fraught with many tears.  In October we'd started attending a church that offered a drop off kids center.  It did not go well.  Every week we'd try and every week they would scream and run after us.  But eventually things with the nanny and the church ended up just fine.

But Seaheart was going to be a huge transition.  We were asking a lot of them.  In five days they'd been in a taxi, a plane, a bus, a minivan, a pickup truck, a bike, 2 hotel rooms and 'moved' into a big house.  And they'd done amazingly well with all of it.  We were all frazzled and tired and hot as hell, but the kids were adjusting to their surroundings and having a (mostly) great time.

The director told me weeks later that my boys transitioned faster than any kids she'd ever had.  I was shocked.  And well...a little proud.  I was really worried about them making it 4 days in a row from 8am-noon.  There were days we walked to school and they both said "no school" but when we got there and they saw Bubbles the bunny and especially the chickens--my God they love chickens--it was usually OK.  Sure there were tears--more from Whoop Whoop than Grunter which was the opposite of what we'd expected--but they never lasted long.

There are a few very big things I never expected from motherhood:

  • I never thought I'd have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom.
  • I never thought I'd be one of those moms who hadn't spent a single night (uh, or full day) away from her kids.
  • I never thought I'd breastfeed for a year let alone continue breastfeeding well beyond the 2nd birthday.
  • I never thought I would entertain the idea of homeschooling.

Maybe if an affordable, quality, nature/play-based preschool program were available to us here I would be thinking differently.  In fact, I'm sure I would.
I loved Seaheart, I love the teachers, the volunteers and I loved watching my kids grow in the month they were there.  The place was straight out of a granola fairy tale and if we lived there the boys would continue on.
But we don't live there and we aren't moving there and we can't afford the Waldorf preschool here that charges $25K per child.
And while it was nice to have the 4 hour break every morning, by the time they got home it was time to nap and it left very little quality time with them.  When Friday rolled around, I was really missing my boys.
I'm in a very fortunate position to stay at home and I really can't imagine sending them to a program where they are cooped up inside most days.  Chicken, on the other hand, can't imagine spending every day at home with them!  Which means we both have the right jobs:)
Speaking of Chicken, she's not all aboard the homeschooling train.  But she has agreed that for the early years, it sounds like a good idea (so far).  Who knows, by the time they are 5 years old, maybe I will be ready for them to go to school.
I don't know.  But for now, I'm relishing the idea of keeping them right here with me just as long as I can.  To play, to be outside, to explore, to grow, to learn.  To just be kids.
When it's time to transition, we'll do that.  And they will be just fine.


Marcia (123 blog) said...

I love how you're different from what you thought you'd be - so am I :) I never thought I'd differ from the majority of parents here on so many things!

PS I'm going to be in NYC in July. Are you going to be around?

Casey said...

I love this post!

Next in Line said...

25K for preschool?! Yikes that is worse than here. I love following your family's adventures. I also am doing all kinds of things I never thought I would consider or want to do :) How did the two mom family thing go over at the preschool?