July 8, 2008

The Way It Shouldn't Be

Let's say, just for fun, that you're looking for a preschool for your children. You pick two to do site visits for; both are nationally accredited. They cost precisely the same amount.

Enter one preschool.

You see the play area; it is not tiny. The guide shows you the basement meeting hall the children play in when it rains. In case you didn't know...it rains here. Often.

You see the pretty classrooms, with the busy children, and ask about the curriculum. They talk about letters and numbers.

You ask, "What do you do with a child who already knows all their letters?"

They are silent. They look at each other. Then they stammer, "Uh...well, we'd work on the letter sounds, and maybe move on to word recognition?"

They assume that I am talking about the four and a half year old. I do not tell them that Laura already is pretty solid on the letter sounds, and that Emily is actually the one I was thinking of when I asked the question.

The scene shifts to a different preschool.

A smaller setting, both in size of classes and of classrooms. It is homey, and not very institutional. (There is a room full of infants, and none of them are fussing, although at least two or three are being simply snuggled by some grandmother-types). They have a sandpit outside in a large fenced play area. When you comment, you are told, "Oh, yes, and we play outside even when it rains. We encourage boots in the winter!"

When you ask how they handle children who are starting to read, they answer with no hesitation that they "just try to take students where they are, and help them move forward academically."

Can you guess which place we (unanimously--all four of us) chose?

As an independent benefit, it's close to work for both of us, so the girls may get to visit speech practice from time to time and catch up on their idols.


Tami said...

Oh! Is this the place I suggested then? If so, awesome! Teacher Sharon just retired, but I suspect she'll be back to play. She was my partner in crime for 3 years...and interestingly enough, she was my older brother's 2nd grade teacher at Butte Creek! Small world.

Ginger Ogle said...

Yes!!! and thank you. You and the K-2 teacher both suggested it, and we all just loved it on first sight. I'm ecstatic, because finding a good place for them was my main horror. Now I'm actually getting really excited to be back in the classroom. :-)