Monday, February 07, 2011

As if a mother needed something else to obsess or stress about.

I don't know if this is emotional, maternal or common sense.
In NYC, or at least in my part of town, I'm starting to see a growing separation between my kid's parents and their views on school.  I suppose that statement can be said in any place in any town.
The difference I think though is the age at which you start noticing your views may not be the same as your fellow parents.
My kid is 2 years old.  I've always been under the belief that 4 is for pre-k, if desired and 5 for k.  As a parent, if I feel she may need a little more help adjusting to a school environment, I may decided to start with playgroups that offer separation and structure introductions or hold off a year after consulting with the school.
Well, I clearly see two different schools of thought creeping into my life.  I have parents making prospective school charts and what not.  I see parents going on tours and interviews.  So I asked casually, "When you do you expect school to start?"  The answers scared me.  "My kid, 2, is in full day 5 day a week school."  "In order to get into a good kindergarten, you need to be in their pre-k, so you need to start at 3."  "I don't think my child is ready but I'm being told I need to get my foot in the door now."
Wait, so if I want my kid to go to school when she is 4 I have to start this damn process now?
Isn't this a lot of pressure for kids and parents?  Is a 3 year old kid ready for full day 5 day a week school?  Are they physically and mentally and emotionally ready?  I read an article about how a 3 year old kid was kicked out of preschool for repeatedly wetting her pants.  Come on now.  Hope that isn't on her permanent record!  She'll never get into Yale.
I didn't start full day school until I was 6.  My kindergarten was half day.
Now I'm told kindergarten is full day and it isn't just about learning structure and sharing and communicating but actual sit down at desks and do tons of homework and schoolwork.
It makes a newbie parent completely frazzled. 
May it's just me but paying 15K for pre-k seems to be ridiculous.  Not only is paying that ridiculous but placing that much pressure and stress on me, my child and my husband, going through a million interviews, researching, trying to figure out what the sweet spot is, trying to 'not coach but coach' my kid for their interview sounds ludicrous.
My kid is a kid once.  Stress is one thing this world does not have a limited supply of.  Do I want to put this on my kid?  And if I don't, am I a bad parent for not attempting to give her what folks say is a 'leg up'?
And if I do start my kid at 3, what about parents that redshirt their kids?  Would that mean my kid 3 year old is in a class with a 5-6 year old?
God this is insane.
I know times were different but I'm fairly certain Mary wasn't pouring over tablets and having deep conversations with Joe on whether or not Jesus should start school early or later and if that would lead to social, emotional, mental and educational concerns.