My oldest son will officially be ready for preschool next fall. He currently goes to a toddler program and I'm pretty happy with it - except for the fact that he has to go for six hours a day. That means that I'm paying for him to nap there when he could easily nap at home for free. I tried to see if the center had any flexibility on that six-hour minimum - like could he attend for four instead?
"Sure. You can pick him up whenever you like. But we have to charge you for the full six hours."
I'm also free to set a pile of money on fire every month, but I'm not about to do that either. So I foolishly thought we'd just send him somewhere else. How hard can it be to find a preschool? My requirements are pretty simple:
1. It must be safe
2. It must be clean
3. It must be a happy enviroment - smiling teachers, happy kids
4. It has to be within a 15 minute drive from home (why add more stress to my life?)
I'm happy to drop him off at any school that meets those basic requirements so that he can glue leaves to construction paper and kick balls in the playground to his heart's content (as far as I can tell this is the bulk of his school day - save for snack time - snack time is HUGE at his school).
So I start calling and visiting the local schools, checking to see if they had any room for my son. Surprise! They're all full! And the waitlist? Full as well! Did you know that you have to apply at least a year in advance in order to get into PRESCHOOL?
Let's take a minute here for a reality check: My applications to graduate school were due in January and by April I was looking for an off-campus apartment. It takes 3 months to get into business school, but it takes 13 months to get into PRESCHOOL.
My mind. It is boggled.
Thankfully, none of the preschools I'm considering are on Boston Magazine's list of the "finest preschools" or I'd be in real trouble.