DH and I decided to finally face the real world when it comes to our kids’ education. Unfortunately, I will not fall asleep and wake up when they are 18 and hopefully somewhat educated. I have talked a little about the anxiety raising among my parent peers about school options in this post. I tried to brush it off and then one day my nanny said: ‘Everyone is asking me about what G & P will do next year? Are they going to preschool?’ EVERYONE is asking, apparently. I still resisted the issue until P told me one day: ‘D is not playing with us in the morning now because he is going to school. He is a big boy now, you know’. D is 1 month older than G & P…
DH and I thus sat down with a bottle of red wine and stared at each other for about 15 minutes in silence because we knew that whatever we do it is going to skin us alive. French readers, public schools here start at age 5 here with a handful of them offering a pre-K (age 4) so it means it’s all privately funded. Everything comes out of your very own pocket. Full time preschool (9am-6pm) could cost us up to $100,000 for G & P, part-time preschool (9am-12pm) up to $70,000 because you’ll still have to pay the nanny to care for them…You understand the silent staring now?
Anyway, we found an alternative option that looks like the Eldorado: they start taking your brats age 3 and they are way cheaper than any other preschools in the neighborhood. But the Eldorado comes with a price: pledging to pray God. Yes, I am actually considering to put my kids in a Catholic school. DH, a raised Catholic, has no issues with it; Me, an occasional heretic (I did once think that God should be a woman and should look like Madonna in her Express Yourself period), has more reservations. Don’t get me wrong, on most days you would seriously confuse with me with a devout Christian e.g. Do to others what you would like them to do to you etc. I even worked for a Christian nonprofit…in another life. It’s the religious institutions that I have a beef with but that’s another conversation, another blog post.
So we went to an Open House, DH to listen to their educational programs and me to count how many paintings of Virgin Mary there were in the school building. We took the kids with us to see how they felt about it. And because I knew I could always rely on G’s Creep-O-Meter. The boy is freaked out watching Tinkerbell so I knew that an overly Holy surrounding would send him running towards the door. He was going to be my wing boy. Turns out it was not the praying corners with kids’ writings asking God to help them be good friends with their classmates (I am not kidding) or statues of Virgin Mary that got me concerned but the Parents. Talk about going back to school…All the stereotypes were there: the A student mom who was on her open house Number 10, the too cool for school dad with suspenders who preferred to take his daughter to another side of the school rather than share a play area with P and I, and the overly dressed up mom struggling to keep a hang on her children…OK, the last one is actually me, but in my defense I had to dash to my little sis birthday dinner in Midtown right after the school visit. Still I am pretty sure that this did not look good, especially when I almost stumbled onto another child while chasing P with my heeled knee high boots…
We left rather impressed with the program’s principles and philosophy: well thought, well designed and ….well sold, obviously. DH and I were bugged by something though. All the children were ‘invited’ to play with the classroom toys during the presentation and G built a huge boat with lego blocks for the first time in his life and was beaming with pride and excitement. He looked around for his dad who was on the other side of the room and screamed:’ Daddy!!!!!!! Loook, I made a big boat!’ That’s when the director of the program (who I am sure, secretly hates children) told the parents to try to shush the kids down during her presentation. She said this, minutes after going on and on about the importance of celebrating children’s achievement. It was a tad ironic and a shit load of WTF. In the cab on our way home, DH and I agreed that we will try to get them in next September but meanwhile we were happy to have a nanny at home who beams with pride every time G
sings screams ‘Old McDonald had a farm’ very loud. These kids will get restrained soon enough; I am happy to let them loose for now even if it means they still cannot differentiate colors and letters like most of their friends in preschool. Life should be simpler; at least for P it is. When we asked P what she thought of school, she replied:
– ‘I LOOOOOVE IT! It was super!’
-‘They gave me cookies’.
Getting ready for school 🙂