Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What a difference a few years makes!

With La Nina launched into Kindergarten, we are now preparing to launch the Magster into her new school. We had the Parent Orientation tonight and met with her teacher. We learned of the new school's philosophy, rules and most importantly, the birthday policy. Oh my, have we come full circle.

Way back when La Nina was starting preschool, I did a thorough investigation of the area nursery schools. The Dad and I debated philosophies on early childhood education, then we selected the snootiest school in town. The school was completely focused on academics. Every activity had some sort of learning focus. Most schools have cirriculums, but this one had a cirriculum that mapped to the Ivy League entrance requirements. (I'm kidding....sort of.) When we applied for the school, there was an interview process and we practically had to submit our own educational dossiers. Frankly, I shocked they took us. Well, we lasted about 6 weeks. La Nina hated it and we hated it even more. It was way too structure and in my opinion put too much pressure on the toddlers in their care.

I pulled La Nina from that school without a plan for a new school. But we landed somewhere good that had an immediate opening. The school we've had both girls at for the last couple of years we picked because the kids seemed happy, they had a flexible schedule and they made the kids lunches everyday. (I know...where are my priorities?) Every time we walked onto the playground, kids were laughing, running, jumping and playing. It also did the academic stuff and La Nina's very well prepared for Kindergarten. It wasn't the best maintained place, but the teachers were great and both girls enjoyed their time and their hot lunches. Trust me, my lunches pale in comparison to the cook's at the school. I felt bad when I knew we had to switch Maggie's school.

Tonight we were introduced to a third school. It comes very well recommended. Parents and kids both just love it. In fact, I've only heard one complaint about it. It's not academic enough for many families. It's heavily oriented to art and play. The focus is on creating a love of learning and exploration, not necessarily attaining academic excellence. They do cover the alphabet and basic numbers, but not in the same structured way La Nina's class did. But you know what, I'm okay with their low key approach to learning because it's the perfect place for Maggie. She's so darn creative and she's the kind of kid who will figure out a good deal of things on her own. The less structure I give her at home, the better she does. She's the total opposite of her sister.

It took three years for me to figure it out something that seemed so obvious to me tonight: there's not a right or wrong answer on preschools. Looking back on this whole experience, I know now the right preschool is dependent on the kid and the family.


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