I’ve just finished inputting Wildling’s school schedule into our calendar. It’s getting real. She’s really starting preschool soon.
We’ve always called her daycare school, because I want her to associate the idea of going to school with the idea of having fun, and daycare is a lot of fun (or it is most of the time). But now it’s real school. There will be actual learning. Not super structured learning, as it is a Montessori school, but still, she’ll have stuff she needs to do.
I think we’re doing the right thing by moving her from her daycare. We originally decided to make the switch because we were angry that daycare had decided to keep her in the two-year-old classroom for another year. When we first enrolled her there, she was 22 months old, and after taking the tour, the school director told me Wildling would be starting directly in a two-year-old room because she was so advanced, and there was no sense in putting her in with the one-year-olds for such a brief period. That made me think the daycare cared about her learning and her development and they were putting her with kids at her level.
Imagine my surprise when she was moved to the potty-trained two-year-old room last August, instead of moving to a three-year-old one with most of the rest of her class. I guess maybe I wasn’t surprised, more confused, because I thought she should have been moving up entirely, and I didn’t like the idea of her moving classrooms for two months then moving again, See, I assumed it was temporary. But then, after she turned three, she was still there. And when we had parent-teacher conferences and I asked when she’d be moving, I was informed that she wouldn’t be – since she had a September birthday, she had to stay in that room, because they tried to keep the kids with their future classmates.
I was furious. Poor Will had to listen to a lot of swearing from me that evening, as I immediately started researching other daycares and preschools. My brilliant super-advanced daughter stuck with a bunch of barely verbal two-year olds just because of her birthday? A few weeks sets her back a year? Ridiculous.
But Will is a little calmer than me in general, and after talking about it we decided to leave her there as the oldest in her room and let her be a leader. She doesn’t have great social skills, so we thought it might be good for her. Of course, part of her social problems stem from being so very verbal at such a young age, and having to deal with kids who didn’t understand or couldn’t respond. She’d get so frustrated that she’d resort to shrieking, and nobody likes that. I remember once when a kid her own age tried to give her a toy that he had been chewing on. She very politely said “No, thank you, I don’t want that in my mouth,” but he persisted in shoving it at her (or offering it to her, if you have a kinder perspective on the situation). Then she got mad: “I said I don’t want that in my mouth! Stop giving that to me!” Then, when he still didn’t/couldn’t respond, she shrieked and hit him.
So we let her stay for another year. But now, it’s time to move on. We don’t want her continuing at that daycare – it’s a great place and we love her teacher and we love her friends there, but we couldn’t let her spend a year as a four-year-old in a three-year-old room.
So we’re making the switch to a Montessori school. I’m still frustrated that she won’t be able to enroll in kindergarten until the year she turns six, but I think it will work out better for her anyway. As an older student, she’ll have more confidence in guiding the younger ones, plus, with the Montessori, they have three grades together – so even if she is in the three-year-old class now, she’s in there with the fours and the kindergartners all together.
Selfishly, as an added bonus, the school is biking distance away (yay fitness opportunity!), plus when Mellow starts there, Wildling will still be in kindergarten, so I’ll have one year of an easy commute to one location. And, as another bonus, this particular Montessori has a split campus – and the elementary school is a very short walk from our house. Planning ahead – in five years, when they’re both in elementary school, I’ll have a really easy commute.
I hope it works out well. I hope she adjusts to her new environment in a calm stress-free manner. Of course, I know my daughter and I know nothing is that easy with her, but I can dream, can’t I?