Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dream a little dream

Elise and I both have a dream... it's the same one, but for very different reasons. We are both dreaming of pre-school.

She dreams of going to school because she is so curious about what goes on there; like it's a wonderful place where all you do is play princesses while riding unicorns and playing with leprechauns.

I dream of shipping her off because if I have to hear the sentence, "Moooom, let's plaaaaaaaay!" one more time, I just might start laughing like a loon and run off down the street; never to look back. I may or may not be naked in this scenario. It's not the sentence itself; it's the fact that she says it every two minutes or so. And even if you are playing with her, and (God forbid) turn your attention to anything else (like a phone ringing), she will say it again; louder and with more emphasis and syllables on the "play" part.

I had never really given pre-school a second thought. It was just too scary for me to drop her off into the hands of the uninitiated for any amount of time. But since Mattias was born (and the arrival of Eileen), I've had a change of heart.

I've been watching Elise, and I see how she absolutely glows when she's around other kids. And how she loves to learn and experience new things. She has grown up so much in the last 6 months, I figured she was ready.

I found out about a church in my area that has a pre-school. A friend of mine sends her daughter there, and they love it. And, it's right up the street from us. Literally, right up the street; it would take me 15 seconds to drive there, or about 5 -10 minutes to walk with Elise. When I called them up, I learned that one of the teachers was a T1 diabetic. Could it be any more perfect?

Except, because it's a little late to be enrolling her, they have no room. But that's not what has me down. They told me that because of her birth date, if they did have room they'd put her in with the 2 1/2 year olds.

When I went to school, if you were born in a certain year, you were in the same grade as other kids born in that same year. Except here, they have some mysterious cut-off that Elise misses by a few days. And that bugs me.

If you've ever met Elise, then you know that she is extremely mature for her age. She's been talking in full sentences since before she turned two, and her vocabulary is better than some 5 year olds. Why would they put her in with kids that would hold her back?

I tried to explain that to the assistant director of the pre-school, but she said that they were firm on that rule. I wonder if it would have helped if I told her that Elise was born at 41 weeks gestation and her actual due date would have been before this magical cut-off.

Can anyone who is in the education field explain this to me? Why do schools do this? Shouldn't it be on a child-by-child basis? Or am I making to much out of it? I don't know why, but I feel like Elise is being unfairly judged.

Perhaps I should just keep looking. But this school seemed so perfect, that I don't want to let go.


  1. If the school seems perfect, try it. There will be other children in her class that are close to the cut-off date, also. If she's not happy, you'll know it.
    My guess, she'll love it!

  2. Just a little FYI in response... Sept. 1st is the cut-off here, and our kids' preschool held firm to that date. However, for the elementary school, our school district allows kids to take a kindergarten ready test. The kids have to be 4.8 years old. If they pass, they can enter before their 5th birthday; if they fail, they must wait a year.

    Sorry you're so disappointed!

  3. T1 Teacher? Sounds like its meant to be! Hannah my 1st was just like your Elise it sounds. The girl was far beyind kids her age in vocabulary and cognitive thinking. We had this same issue when she started, I know.

  4. Being the more mature of the group is not always a bad thing. She will not be the only one... and you will find that most(if not all) schools stick to that date.

    Both of my kids are older... I use to feel the same way you do(especially with Leighanna). NOW, I am glad they missed the cut off. You will be surprised with what a teacher can do. There will always be a mix of "levels" among the class.

  5. First off...this is exciting news!!! Elise in preschool - a big ol' WOOT WOOT coming from your d mama bud in VT...who just so happens to be a Portuguese Princess (: ... I am with the others...try it. It will allow Elise the "leader" role, which will actually be a great place for her to start out anyway. It sounds like an idyllic situation that I would hate for you to miss out on. (((HUGS)))

  6. It does sound like this school would be a good fit.

    Like the others have said, there are probably going to be classmates close to that cutoff as well.

    However, you could try two things if you feel that Elise does need a different room.

    Have you asked if the school or your doctor can give Elise a developmental screening? This would help the director see where she is at in all areas and could affect in which room she is placed. Cognitive skills aren't the only thing that factors into where a child should be placed. Sometimes, if a child hasn't been in school before or hasn't had a lot of interaction with other children, a slightly younger age grouping is best.

    Another option is to ask if Elise could have a trial period in the classroom. The teachers could help asses if she is too beyond the other students and doesn't benefit from being in that class. If she is becoming bored and frustrated, it won't be a good experience for anyone.

    Good luck!

  7. Ah...the rule. Yes....that cut off. I know. But schools tend to hold firm to it -- those 2.5 year olds are the kiddos she'll be to kindergarten with because of THE RULE.

    I say let her do it if they can find a spot for her. The school offers everything you need and, if she doesn't like it, you can yank her. She may LOVE it! But she'll never get the chance to decide if she doesn't get the chance to go :)

  8. Our schools cutoff is December 3rd. My boys are November boys, so I held them back a year and they are all the oldest in their class. Now I know, girls are WAY different than boys...but let her be the leader. Let her have the experiance, to gain the self esteem. Even with children so young she will feel more at ease. And later, if it is completly obvious she is in the wrong class...then find her another place. If you can get in, I say give it a shot! In the mean time, search around...maybe their will be an equally wonderful place out there for her!

  9. Oh gosh...that does sound perfect! We have cut off dates at our preschool too - Adam goes to a church one as well and they stick to their cut off dates as well. I put both my kids in when they were 3 and they thrived and learned so much - mostly social, as I wasn't concerned about academics, but it was GREAT for them. My daughter was super shy and it helped open her up and Adam is, well...usually the life of the party and I can't imagine him NOT going to preschool! Since his dx, he's only going 3 days a week for 2 1/2 hours at a time, but he loves it. Ours is only 5 minutes away from our home as well and I feel comfortable leaving him there for a few hours.

    Good luck...I hope you are able to get her in!!

  10. Oh no they are still doing that cut off thing ? gosh they were doing that when my kids were little what is going I thought they would have been beyond that . Oh my the education system does leave something to be desired no wonder so many parents home school now . well I hope she gets into somewhere where she and you will both be happy . Good luck .

  11. I am a September baby too (as I think Elise is?) and the cutoff date when I started school was September 1st. My birthday being September 17th, I had to wait an entire other year before starting kindergarten. I was always one of the oldest in my class, which is nice when you get your drivers license first. :)


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