A huge portion of my days nowadays is being devoted to scouting for pre-schools for our big, little girl. The hubby and I have been greatly considering many factors on why we want to send her this early to school given that she will only be turning three at the end of summer. Many would consider this too early, and that she might lose interest in school early, too. I am not pushing her and being a helicopter mom because this whole exercise should only contribute to her whole being as a person.
Truth be told, I have minor issues on her being an only child (at this point), and what this may do to her social skills. She seldom sees and interacts with other kids near her age, and have only Lolo and Lola as companions for five working days in a week. I only get to give her my undivided attention every weekend, and I have other household issues at that. You can just imagine my desire for her to be exposed to other people, and because she’s a kid for Pete’s sake, she should be playing, playing, playing with other kids! As it is, she’s learned how to entertain herself, but the time is ripe to provide her with another conducive environment for her growth.
With that, and her keen interest and natural curiosity, and early ability to learn colors, shapes, numbers, etc., the stage is set for her entering Nursery come June. As I said, I have scouting, searching all over the Net, and soliciting feedback from friends for schools nearby my parents’ house. Some few weeks ago, we also did a round up of schools in the area, and leisurely drove around the subdivision I grew up in. As of today, we are not yet sure on our exact moving date so we decided not to take a chance, and look for schools near the new house lest we encounter further delays, and end up bringing her to a far location everyday. Besides, we can always make arrangements with my folks, and I know that we would always be welcome at their place anyhow so that point was easily agreed upon. (On another matter, I guess this is the time to also actively look for a nanny.)
And for a first timer about to send her kid to school, I am actually at a loss on what criteria should I be using in determining the best institution. As this is only a trial anyway, I limited my requirements to choosing a relatively small nursery or pre-school, which has an ideal student-teacher ratio (I do not even know what is really ideal hehe). I do not want to put her in to a big school with big kids as I am sure what she would be expecting. I want the school and the teachers, which is truly focused on the kids since pre-schoolers are apt to wander around, and not really concentrate on school. Don’t get me wrong, as I said, I do not want to hover around my kid, put pressure on schooling, and make this whole thing enjoyable for her. But of course, I want some structure that would make her learn, after all that is what schooling is about–not really achieving but learning.
Today we visited some of the schools that I have narrowed down from the list I got from all over. We asked the very basic questions, and watched some of kindergarten classes in action. We were a little early for the nursery classes since schools hold these at about ten in the morning until noon. We looked around, inquired about teacher supervision, how they run the schools, the maximum number of kids per class, the syllabus, how they pace the kids, and of course, the fees! Whew! I was glad to note that not one of the schools we were eyeing are charging an arm and a leg. It would fit nicely in our budget compared with the bigger, more known schools. Besides being more expensive doesn’t necessarily translate to being better.
And of course, coming from an institution that puts premium on quality, I have already researched whether these institutions have the appropriate permits from the Department of Education. I easily crossed off from the list those without licenses, and even those who only have permits but not government recognition (there’s a difference but it’s a long explanation so I will just leave it at that). Anyway I am glad the schools that we went to, and have shortlisted are already recognized.
So now I have, I think, until middle of the summer to make a decision where to send her. I do hope we pick the right one as it will spell out the next stage of her intellectual, social and emotional development (of course I will take the credit for being her first teacher).