Jun 7, 2010

Glorified babysitting or pre-school?

Of course you have heard me complain about #1. Alayna's birthday being 4 days after the NJ State cut off date for school and #2.  About Chris Christy's take on pre school and his possible budget & funding cuts.  Well,  I'm starting to eat my words on the latter because of what I saw the other day.

Last Tuesday, the pre-school Alayna is starting had an open house.  Honestly, I wasn't going to express my true feelings to anyone about it.  I was going to keep it to myself and send her to school anyway in September.  No, I'm not doubting my daughter, I'm doubting the lack of everything that school has.

Let me start off by saying this;  I went to that public school.  I transferred there from Catholic school in 5th grade and attended it until 8th when I had graduated.  Did I like the school?  Well, of course not.  I was IN the school.  I hated going to school and hated the idea of learning.  What kid doesn't??  Though, looking back, the school was a good one.  It gave me a pretty good education and welcomed a new geeky kid in with open arms.  

When we walked in with Alayna, I was excited to show her where I had gone to school and had been telling her how fun it is.  The principal greeted us, didn't even tell us his name.  Just walked us right to the classroom without more than one word.  Ok...  Next...  The teacher said "Hi", didn't introduce herself, didn't say hi to my daughter.  Left us hanging in the classroom.  There were some kids playing around, so Alayna went with them.  

I sat in that classroom in utter awe.  It couldn't have been bigger than my living room...for 18 kids...  It was so disorganized, the toys looked second hand and from what I saw on the walls, the kids currently attending COULD NOT WRITE.  Isn't that something you're supposed to learn in pre school?!  I sat there trying to figure out what the hell we were even doing there.  No one said a word to us. 

Trying to ask the teacher what the kids would learn was like talking to a freaking brick wall...Seriously.  She couldn't give me a straight answer.  The teachers aide just sat there text messaging the whole time and I wanted to get out of there as soon as I could... I was not impressed.  I grabbed Alayna and we got out of there.  

My mom and I had a talk a few days after and we both had the same impressions.  This was not a place to send Alayna.  She's too smart already, too advanced...  She even said she would be bored there if all they did was play.  That place WAS glorified babysitting, without a doubt.  Even though it's a bit of money,  My mom and I both came to the same conclusion that I should enroll her in the Kindergarten class of Tutor Time for this year and transfer her into 1st grade in New York the following year.  That's what I was thinking as well.

It costs money for me to commute to NY, but it would be more worth it if she actually GOT an education and could be with kids her age.  I really feel that I would be an irresponsible parent sending her to the school she is currently enrolled in.  I would feel like I'm not doing her any benefits but hindering her progress.  I want her to continue to be smart, not to regress.  I hope I'm doing the right thing in enrolling her in New York...  I just can't see her amazing mind go to waste locally...