It’s the last day before school starts here in North Carolina. Thanks to the power of the tourist industry, my daughter’s summer vacation was extended two weeks by the state legislature, thereby making it possible for us to get in one last visit to Jungle Rapids.
Except it’s been so hot the last two weeks we don’t feel like moving, let alone getting in the car and going to a water park.
Yesterday we visited my daughter’s school, a brand spanking new elementary school. The place is huge. It’s bigger than most middle schools and some high schools. The reason for its vastness, I’m told, is to avoid the dreaded mobile class rooms which are used when the school population exceeds available space. (I’m OK with that. Aly spent second grade in a trailer and I’d rather she not do that again.)
Now I’m about to admit something that will shock many of you. My soon-to-be fifth grader is at a severe educational disadvantage.
She never went to pre-school.
Yes, my sweet baby was deprived the enriching experience of spending three mornings a week learning letters and numbers and all the words to The Wheels On The Bus.
It’s not that I didn’t want her to go to pre-school. There just wasn’t anyone around to take her there and pick her up three hours later. I was working three days a week. My husband had a full time job. My parents were retired, but they lived an hour away.
So Aly went to a baby sitter who lived close by and probably was taking care of more kids than was even legal. But it didn’t matter to my daughter. She loved it. Instead of learning to count to ten in Spanish, she’d spend her days outside with a bunch of other three and four year olds playing. Yes, playing–-running, swinging, going down the slide, digging in the sand, fighting over toys, doing whatever it is three year olds like to do.
If she missed anything, I haven’t noticed it. She learned how to read in kindergarten and she always scores above grade level in her reading tests. She does well in math too.
I have never understood the cutthroat tactics of parents trying to get their children into The Right pre-school. What do these places do anyway? Teach quantum physics and geometry for toddlers? Does that work?
Hey, I have no regrets. My kid had fun. And you only get to be a kid once.