Preschool

**Editors note: I started this post over 2 weeks ago but sometimes life gets in the way of my blogging so I’m just now getting around to posting it.  In fact, much of the news that you receive on this blog in the next few weeks might be a bit stale.  I apologize in advance.**

Formal preschool was never something I experienced.  My “preschool” teacher was my great-grandmother who also doubled as my babysitter.  Nanny was awesome.  Until you pissed her off.

Seriously.

She was not quite 5 feet tall and once chased my dad around her yard with a hickory switch for something that he undoubtedly deserved.

They don’t make ’em like they used to!

Nanny was a “retired” one-room schoolhouse teacher and she never left her love of teaching in the classroom.  She had me reading Bernstein Bear books by the time I was in kindergarten.  In fact, it was my “show-and-tell” one week.

It’s a miracle that I had any friends at all since, apparently, I was an attention whore even at the tender age of 5.

Greg had a more “traditional” preschool experience where, ya know, he went to a school.  With other kids.  And had teachers that weren’t his 4 foot, 10 inch great-grandmother.

And now that Brock is preschool-age, the time has come to make the decision: shit or get off the pot.

Here’s our dilemma:

Our son is brilliant.  Sure, sure, everyone says that but Brock really is.  The kid is barely four and knows the alphabet, knows phonetics, can count to 30, can count to 100 by 10s, knows every shape/color and we are beginning to read!

See??  Again, I’m being an attention whore.  Only this time, I’m bragging about my kids rather than myself.  I’m getting better.  Or worse.  I’m not quite sure.

Despite the fact that my child should have been named Einstein Stemme, we have a couple of problems.

1) His birthday just happened.  As in, after August 1st.  As in, he will be 6 (or very nearly 6) when he starts kindergarten.  So we are looking at 2 years of preschool any way you slice it.

2) He takes after his momma in the fact that he’s slightly socially awkward.  This, I’m not making up.  Exhibit A: The kid randomly tells people that I’m pregnant (when I’m definitely not).  I’m not sure if he did that to fill the silence like I often do or if it was because he wanted another sibling.  Exhibit B: He freaks out if he thinks Greg or I are going to leave him somewhere.  Exhibit B1: everyday that we drop him off at daycare (although he has gotten significantly better over the past few months), exhibit B2: everyday that we went to Vacation Bible School this summer, exhibit B3: every Wednesday night that we go to youth group at church.

Obviously the kid needs 2 years of socialization so it’s not necessarily a bad thing that it worked out the way that it did.  Once we had settled on sending him to a preschool, we just had to figure out where.  Easy, right?!

Here’s the next dilemma: Where to send our beloved first-born.

What I thought would be an easy decision, turned into a monster of sorts.  The school district that we are in, only has Title 1 preschool.  Obviously, I didn’t know that when I called because the conversation went like this:

Me: “Hi!  I was wondering if I could get some information about your preschool program.”

Her: “Okay, sure!  First thing, we would need to have your child evaluated to see what level he is at.”

Me: “Oh, okay.  So you don’t place them in classrooms according to their age? (Hi!  I’m oblivious!)”

Her: “Well, not necessarily.  If certain kids are significantly developmentally delayed, they will go in with a younger group.”

Me: “Oh, gotcha!  Well, my son isn’t developmentally delayed at all! (Riiiiiight.  This is me still not getting it)”

Her: “Um, well . . . what’s . . .  uh . . . what’s his diagnosis?”

Me: ” . . . . ”

Her: “Ma’am?”

Me: “Oh, sorry!  (silently wondering if I’ve been given the wrong number)  My son doesn’t have any developmental delays or a diagnosis.  (lightbulb) I’m sorry, I think I realized what happened.  Do you only accept children with special needs?”

Her: “Yes ma’am.  We are a Title 1 preschool.”

Crap.

Onto Plan B.

I call around to several other districts in the area to find out

  • my alma mater does 5 half-days/week.  Unfortunately, that means that we would have to find somebody to pick him up and take him to daycare 5 days/week.
  • Greg’s alma mater doesn’t have a preschool but there is one at a local church.  I called them.  I found out a week later that there was 1 opening but it was just filled.
  • There is a private preschool in a town about 20 miles away.  The recommendation came with fantastic reviews but it’s private and Casa de Stemme isn’t made of gold nor do we own a money tree (unfortunately) so onto our next option.
  • One of Greg’s college professors also happens to run a preschool in a town that is less than 10 minutes from us.  I called her and they had one opening.  We get all of the information from her and decide that it sounds like a great fit.  Somehow, by the grace of God, the spot is still available and we take it!

So that’s where we stand.  The teacher is super-nice & loves Brock.  She came to our house prior to the start of school to get to know Brock in his environment which was a really nice touch. 

We kept him pretty involved once we made our decision on where to send him.  For example: each child is associated with an animal.  The animal serves as their name tag, it goes on their handbook, etc.  It’s an important part of their identity.  Brock, quite aptly, chose a monkey as his representative animal and he was thrilled when his teacher brought his name tag to show him.  He proudly wore it around the house the entire time she was there.

Obviously, he was pretty excited about his first day of school.

And we are so proud of him.

His momma might have even teared up a little.

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