January 29, 2008

The Search for a Preschool

I've come to the realization that I probably need to start thinking about preschool for Sophia since I've recently learned places have 1-2 year waiting lists. I'm not looking for full-time M-F, but I do think she needs to be able to spend a given amount of time away from me during the day or I'm afraid she'll be one of those wailing kids who I have to pry off my leg whenever I leave her somewhere.

So my quest for the 'right' preschool/MDO has begun. And I'm pretty bummed that the places that jive with my philosophy are all south or central.

I want a place where the kids:

-are treated to hours (not 30 minutes) of outdoor play daily, where kids can run, climb, explore, search, dig in dirt, and get dirty!
-have a home like environment with natural materials
-learn about multicultural studies
-are exposed to Spanish
-have Art time
-have Music time
-have Story time
-no TV time
-are not allowed to bring junk food

-and are given opportunities for PLAY!

This is such a profound and crucial aspect to learning and IMO, our society rushes kids into academia too soon and before they're truly ready. I've seen the results of this as an elementary school teacher. Often, by the time they start school, kids have no idea how to use their imaginations. No idea how to be creative because that was never fostered. Ah, but "Mary knew her ABCs when she was 2!", parents gloat. So what. And then the school system continues to squeeze out any remaining creative and imaginative juices with its current rigid mainstream pedagogy, but that's another story. But I will say, Kindergarten is not what it used to be. Instead of imaginative play in centers, schools are forcing teachers to focus more on teaching 5 years olds how to read and the abstract concepts of writing. And it's leaking down to the Pre-K grades. Reading and Writing instruction in Pre-K. Why the rush? They're going to get it down the road. Let them play, create, discover, learn the beauty of cooperative play, which will in help foster kids into lifelong learners. Although, I don't believe it's necessary to teach a preschooler to read, I do believe igniting the desire is crucial, and it can be done through telling stories and poems, that they learn by listening to, not reading them. How about giving kids a love for language before we start teaching them to read and write it.

Anyway.

I'm trying to find a preschool that allows lots of 'guided' free time play. And I ain't finding anything here in the burbs. So, my choices are to 1). deal with it and be fine with putting Sophia in a mainstream preschool, 2). be willing to make the commute to one of my favored schools, or 3). start my own school!

The last idea was O'Mama, Andrea H's. idea.
I know, we're crazy.

6 comments:

C-man and Mama said...

Here,here mama! Oh and I still stand by that idea! :)

Mia's Mama said...

Oh, please start your own school....Mia will go :)

Stephanie said...

I'll send Cole if you open a school like that!

Vick said...

If you start your own school, count me in :)

Are you on the Austin AP yahoo list? They talk about preschools now and then, as does the spin-off Austin Ed list. Here are a couple preschool links that came across the list this week:

www.morningsinthenest.com
http://www.thearborschool.com/
http://www.ccoamontessori.com/

Tho Montessori is supposedly pretty structured, from what I can tell. I'm relatively happy with the Goddard School in Cedar Park, but I do wish it was more 'organic' ...

Hope you and Sophia are feeling better :)

wanderinggirl said...

for the love of bob, start your own school.

Wendy

dangergirl78 said...

Well, I don't know how I ran into your bog, but I think it's fate. I'm the director of a new Montessori school in Cedar Park called One World. I don't know where you live or how old your daughter is, but we take 3-6 year olds, and we also have a Mother's Day Out program. Your description of what you're looking for in a school describes us to a T. Check out our website and call me if you want to come by sometime! My name is Julia.
http://www.1worldmontessori.com