James has one of those annoying September birthdays that, it turns out, just misses the cut for NYC preschools. In NYC, the preschool application process is insane – it makes applying to college seem like a breeze and in many ways, it’s more about who you are than your kid. Not to mention they are all ridiculously expensive. So I’m not going to lie, I was somewhat relieved when I realized that he didn’t make the cut off for nearly all the preschool in the city. However, he’s so smart and social that I wanted to put him into something and I’m not gonna lie, I felt a little nervous he’d fall behind if all his friends who were born just a couple months or even weeks earlier were starting twos programs. We found two programs that would take him though. One, a full twos program at a really good preschool that would be 1/2 day 3-5 days a week and one at the preschool we’d like to eventually send him if we don’t move that has a pre-preschool program where the kid goes with their caregiver two days a week. It’s not as long and they don’t experience the drop off and being away from their parent but it’s the same sort of activities and curriculum as the regular twos programs we looked into.
It was heart wrenching to decide. I felt like I was making a decision that would dictate his future, which I know sounds dramatic but I’m telling you, the preschool process in NYC is insane. But ultimately, we decided to trust the school and go with the pre-preschool program at the school we really want him to be at. We had a few reasons behind this. It’ll ensure we don’t have him repeat a year of preschool if he doesn’t meet the pre-K or kindergarten deadlines, preschool is the equivalent of a year of college and to pay that plus a nanny is a lot so as some of my friends mentioned, if we could dodge that bullet for a year, why not, plus, we really love our nanny and she does a great job providing enriching activities and learning, and finally, we don’t know where we’ll be living next year, but if we stay in the city, he’ll have a better chance of getting into the preschool we want him at if he does their pre-preschool program and if we move, we can start him fresh next year.
To be honest, I don’t know if we made the right decision. He’s getting so smart that some days, I worry it won’t be enough. But we’re also signing him up for a bunch of enriching classes, including sports, a science class and a Spanish playgroup so I think he’ll get enough enrichment, and socialization. Plus, being the oldest instead of the youngest in his class will probably end of being a good thing (if you’ve read that Malcolm Gladwell book, you probably know his theory on that). And at this stage, he’s so young that I don’t think this will ruin his chances of getting into Harvard one day.
How about you? When did you know it was the right time for your kids to start school?