Acade(me)

The dissertation was only the beginning.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Preschool
In May of this year I started looking for preschools for ST in New Town. I'd looked all over online, and also talked with a woman T knew who lived in New Town and had all of the "real" information about the various schools in the area. "This one is OK, but their playground is really close to the road and noisy," she say, or "This one is probably the best in town, but the waiting list is over a year long." It was nice to have insider information. As it happened, none of the preschools she highly recommended had slots open for ST. I ended up enrolling him in a preschool I found online, one that is fairly new. I was excited about it because they had a lot of foreign langage activities, and I knew ST would enjoy that. I enrolled him here also because it was one of the few places that had an available spot. At the time, I didn't know where we'd buy a house.

Fast forward to mid-August. ST and I visited this preschool. It is on the complete opposite side of town from where we live. New Town isn't huge by any means, so it only takes us 15 minutes to get there -- but still, it's kind of a hassle because it's also far away from where T and I work (T's office is about five blocks from mine). Basically, we do a huge triangle every day: home to preschool to work to preschool to home. A commute that would normally be 10 minutes without the preschool drop-off and pick-up becomes 25 minutes. In a word, it's a hassle. Aside from that, while the facilities are nice they aren't fantastic, and the preschool itself is very close to the major highway in town. It's sort of in a little industrial park-type area. The rooms in the preschool aren't really "rooms" at all, more like areas divided by temporary walls. The place is very open (which can be nice), but when I walked in I was simply struck by the NOISE.

ST has really enjoyed preschool thus far, and the staff have been very sweet to him. They understood that this was his first time being away from his parents full days. ST adjusts to things quickly, and even though he still gets a little teary when T drops him off in the morning, he's happy as a clam when I pick him up. "Mom, I had ANOTHER great day at preschool!" he tells me every afternoon. He's drawing a lot of pictures, getting to know the other kids, and is especially fond of his teacher. T and I have no real complaints about the preschool (well, T does: he doesn't like that ST's teacher has a tattoo. He's really bothered by tattoos for some reason).

Anyway, today I received a call from the Daniels Children's Center -- this is "the best" preschool in town, the one that supposedly had a long waiting list. ST and I had visited there in August before he started at the other place, just to see what it was like. It was magnificent: a beautiful building with a park outside, hand-painted murals on the walls, a full gym where the kids could play on rainy days, an atrium full of sunlight, beautiful huge playgrounds out back divided by age, and a neat "intergenerational" program that involves residents of the nursing home across the street. I could feel right away that Daniels was where I wanted ST to be. It just felt right to me. Even better: it's only a few blocks from the University (so close I could walk to my office if I wanted to, as could T).

When ST and I visited Daniels, I asked about the waiting list. We were told that the list was long, but that something might open up for three-year olds in January. I placed our names on the list. Today, the director of Daniels called and said that they had a sudden cancellation, and that if we wanted the slot ST could start at Daniels in October. I was flabbergasted. I have until tomorrow to accept or decline the slot.

I will accept it, since that is really where T and I want ST to be. But, being the nice person that I am, I really feel horrible about giving ST's two week notice at his other preschool so soon -- he's only been there two weeks! I have to give them a written notice. What will I say? For some reason this makes me incredibly nervous and uncomfortable, dumping them when they've been nothing but sweet and patient with me and my child. Any suggestions on how to do this nicely, and so that the next two weeks aren't terribly awkward?

This preschool business is far more complicated than I thought it would be.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 9/13/2006 10:09:00 PM  
7 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Rachel said…

    I'd write a letter stressing how lovely they've been to ST and yor family, but saying that location is very important to you and your husband. They can't argue with that1

     
  • At 10:57 PM, Blogger betty said…

    i'm sure that just telling the truth will be fine. i'm also sure this has happened before and will happen again - so they are probably used to it. there's probably little you can do to make it unawkward....but you're so lovely and nice i'm sure that you'll do the best job possible! rachel's idea is also a very good one.

     
  • At 9:27 AM, Blogger Ianqui said…

    Oh, you're lucky because you have such a benign, non-personal excuse! The location thing really is very important, and you can say stuff like "I'm opposed to commuting" or "If we cut down by X miles a week we'll save a lot on gas money". It's too bad that they'll have an open hole, but you have an easy way out that shouldn't hurt anyone's feelings.

     
  • At 11:12 PM, Blogger Lilian said…

    That's tough, but Rachel and the others are right. You do have legitimate reasons. I'm sure that soon enough you'll all be happy that he's where you wanted him to be in the first place!

     
  • At 2:08 PM, Blogger Aliki2006 said…

    You have really good reasons for switching ST, and I'm sure they will understand. A friend of mine recently went through all this re: elementary school--oh, the angst about that!

    I'm sure he'll adjust fairly quickly-I think these things are so much harder on us parents.

     
  • At 6:00 PM, Blogger MusicalMom said…

    I'm so excited for you about the preschool opening! Hopefully the other preschool took it well, and ST will enjoy his last two weeks there. :)

     
  • At 12:53 PM, Blogger Inside the Philosophy Factory said…

    Use the commute -- in my experience, people in smaller towns understand this more readily than those from larger cities. You can use it as, this will increase our family time... which they'll respect. And, in all honesty, it doesn't really matter if they respect you or not -- you aren't going back there.

    Also, being closer to home and in what is really your part of the community gives ST the opportunity to meet neighbors and friends he'll probably want to know when he gets into regular school.

     
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