Thursday, February 2, 2012


A couple of weeks ago I made a casual call to a local preschool asking if kids had to be potty trained prior to enrolling (they don't, but they want you to be working on it). I chatted a bit with the school director, who then asked, "would you like to be placed on the waiting list for Spring 2013?"

Excuse me, what?

I've heard the stories about crazy preschool waiting lists in larger cities. But this is northeast Wisconsin. I honestly thought I was being the crazy mom by calling so early. And I wasn't even calling to register. I was simply calling about an enrollment/readiness question.

So Ben and I whipped it into high gear and set up a few appointments to tour preschools in our community. All were lovely. The teachers seemed great, and the facilities were nice. But there was one preschool that seemed like a really great fit. 

It's a small community preschool run by a very experienced early childhood educator. They run a Monetessori-esque curriculum, but integrate a different math and science program to more closely mirror what is taught in our local school district. The children range in age from 2 1/2 to 5 years old, so the curriculum builds to meet various educational and developmental needs. They focus a lot on the primary Montessori principles of self-direction, experiential learning, and helping one another.

The space is very home-like, with a kitchen and snack area, couches and chairs, various desks and learning stations, and plenty of soft, natural light. They really work to facilitate a community at the school, getting parents involved as much as possible.

We happened to be there during snack time, which really knocked our socks off. Two of the children were assigned to help with snack that day, so they set the tables with cups, plates and napkins, while the other children passed around platters of Kashi cereal and blueberries. Each child served themselves, but waited to eat until every child had filled their plate. For real. Most of these kids were 3 and 4 years old. It was the greatest exhibition of self-control and manners I had ever seen. 

Will (who at 17 months doesn't have the self-control or understanding to wait), started with his blueberries right away. The little boy next to us said (quite sweetly), "Wait! Not everybody has their food yet! It'll just be another second. We have to be patient!" Die.

So needless to say, we're thrilled. And while I don't want Will to grow up a second faster than necessary, I can't wait for next spring. Preschool is going to be great for him.

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