Thursday, July 26, 2007

To School or Not to School?

I know all moms of 2 year olds go through this phase of thinking. Mad momma wrote a post on it. So did kodi’s mom. Rohini wrote about how Ayaan was taking well to her decision. And itchy was waiting to have a word with art about it. Tharini the veteran has already had a successful run with Winkie.

I’m talking about sending your pre-schooler to well – pre-school. Its just that time when you realize that your li un has to move out of your protective shadow and make his first foray into the world outside. Will he adjust to it? Will he like it? How will it impact you?

I was happy when I was told that the compound that we live in has a professionally managed preschool, literally 6houses away from mine. That solved a lot of transportation related problems for me.

Before I even visited the pre-school, I knew why I wanted to send him to one:

  1. Sonny is socially reticent. To an extreme. The word wall flower falls short. He sticks to his Ma till he soaks in the environment and then he walks away with his stroller to an isolated corner – and will keep running around, pushing his stroller till he is tired to bits. No child, no adult, no game and certainly no food is of any interest. I wanted him to get some social skills, be with other kids.
  2. I hoped that the time he was away, I would get a couple of hours to be with myself. My time.

That’s it. No great expectations in the learning department or memorizing department. All that would come later.

With some trepidation, I made an appointment with the pre-school. And checked against each of the criteria I had.

  1. Big open, tree covered play area. Good
  2. Mid –morning snack taken in the open play area, supervised by the teachers and the helpers. Good
  3. Smaller class rooms – with 15 odd kids per class. Iffy.
  4. Children seem happy. Good. One kid actually kept interrupting our conversation because he wanted to kiss his teacher. Thrice. He sure must be happy there.

And then they began telling me the rules and regulations for the school.
  1. School begins at 8am upto 1pm. That’s 5 hours, for a 2 year old. Sounded a bit too much.
  2. The preschool has a uniform. A uniform – for a 2 year old. Holy Christ – whats next??
  3. The child must carry a sandwich, a box of cut fruits/veggies, a pack of milk/juice and a can of water everyday. He will be made to finish this during the mid-morning break. Hurray! Finally someone can get food into sonny.
  4. The child will have to self-feed. By this time I was laughing. Sonny? Prince sonny? Self-feeding? O this will be one long school day, if they wait for sonny to eat on his own.
  5. The child must be toilet trained. Uh-huh! Lazy mommy get off your butt and toilet train your 2 year old!!
  6. No child with a sickness is allowed in school – if you send your sick child, you will be called and asked to pick him/her up. That’s a relief to know.
I started telling the director that sonny spoke very little. Certainly none of it was English. We have been very particular about speaking our mother tongue with him. English he was bound to pick up sooner or later. Oh, she said thoughtfully, that’s going to be a problem. Problem? Here I was waiting for a pat on my back for sticking to my roots, instilling love for the mother-tongue, etc. Why is it a problem? She suggests I stop speaking in my mother-tongue and start speaking in English with sonny at home. I look at her, as if she’s lost her head. She says, if you want your child to learn English faster you should be willing to help. If speaking in the mother tongue is so important, speak the same thing twice over – once in the native tongue and once in English. By this time, I have lost my patience, with the lady. I want to point out to her that the Chinese, the Japanese, the Spaniards, the French, the Germans and more than half the goddamn world studies in their native tongue and learns English only after they go to high school. And it’s not like I’m anti-English, I just more pro-Urdu! I thank her and leave.

Over the next few weeks, I meet a lot of other moms who are sending their kids to the same pre-school. Turns out one of the kids doesn’t speak English too. His mom, is as crazy as I am about retaining the mother tongue. But the child has managed to pick up English just by going to school. And no one asked her to speak bi-lingual at home. Another mom, says her kid is not toilet trained. And yet the school has accepted the kid without a comment. A third mother agrees, her son is also “in Pampers” as she calls it.

So now I’m wondering - if the rules mean nothing at all to them. If so, why have them? And now I’m filled with all sorts of doubts about the school. What kind of place makes rules and breaks them selectively? What other rules will they make and break at will? Am I ok with sending sonny here? Hell, whats the alternative? I cant send him outside the compound we live in. So what choice does that leave me with?

So as of this week, sonny’s not going to any pre-school, at least this autumn semester. I believe I have sufficient reason, to keep the apple of my eye, close to me, for the next 4 months. Logical, rational reasons. Nothing to do, with me having big time separation anxieties. Or me being such a sucker for sonny’s tears that the thought of them – makes me melt. Or the fact that I cannot bear the thought of not having a chirpy babbler following me around. Or the fact, that I hate to admit that my lil baby has grown up and now needs people other than his mom. The fact that my life totally revolves around sonny’s activities. And if he’s going to be away for 5 hours each day….what am I going to do? Or am I?

This decision has been pushed until Oct. After that lets see if mom and son have the stomach to stay away from each other.



At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 11:07 PM, Blogger Moppet's Mom said...

Wow, that sounds like a military school, not a playschool! Or maybe it's just the woman you spoke to airing her own views?

Either way, I too would be less than confident sending my child there...

At 6:10 AM, Blogger Itchingtowrite said...

they all say ur kid is suppose dto be toilet trained.. or else send in diapers. my cousin's wife did not want to do either. he was semi trained and not in diapers... finally she sorted out the problem by making him do the big job before going to school. for "susu" he informs

At 3:17 AM, Blogger Just Like That said...

finding a school/playschool for your little one is such a consuming process..

LOL at Prince Sonny hahaha
Your shool does sound a little too strict. Dunno if that's good or bad...

At 8:03 AM, Blogger mommyof2 said...

"the Chinese, the Japanese, the Spaniards, the French, the Germans and more than half the goddamn world studies in their native tongue and learns English only after they go to high school."

And until then they were communicating with people who could understand them... so no need to learn English:-)

But you are right.. He is too young for these rules but even if you send him now or 2 years later it will be so hard on YOU..:-) And they pick up common English words within a week so don't worry. About feeding, my son went to day care/pre school last August-September, when he was 3 1/2 and he was always hungry by the time I went to pick him up.. I just start carrying extra snack with me so that he could eat something by the time we reach home(1/2 hr. drive).

At 1:49 PM, Blogger DotMom said...

I only see red flags at this school. Any school that does not encourage your child to be bilingual can only be trouble. Are there any other schools in the area?

At 7:24 AM, Anonymous Krista said...

Keep up the good work.


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