Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Let's Take Back Preschool!

Awhile ago Jana had posted some observations about her daughter's preschool and I was so happy to see that I was not the only one who wondered WHEN did preschool become so *much*? When Caroline was in preschool parents were in charge of everything except the actual teaching. Holiday parties (and I use that term loosely as there was a "holiday" every other week!) seemed to get bigger and bigger until Easter when they~meaning the parents, not the teachers~wanted each family to fork over $30 so the "Easter bunny" could come to the class party. Um, no thanks.

When choosing a preschool for Amelia, one of the questions I asked was what is the expected level of parental involvement? Don't get me wrong, I am all for being involved at your kids' school, but I did not want to spend hours per week decorating cupcakes to look like Christopher Columbus. Amelia's teachers told me right off the bat that they would plan all the parties. Parents are welcome to attend but it is not mandatory. Well, sign us up! All was going according to plan til this weekend. Amelia's preschool class has a stuffed frog that visits each child over a weekend. This weekend was our weekend to have Speckles the Frog visit. Great fun for Amelia, not so much for Mommy. See Speckles has a journal that we must document the fun of the weekend visit. As I page thru Speckles journal, it is crazy! Each page features tons of pictures and very elaboratly decorated scrapbook pages for each child. My heart sank. I am even someone who enjoys scrapbooking but I do not wish to spend hours on a scrapbook for a stuffed frog. I began to wonder. Is this because every other mom loves to spend her precious "free" time doing these things? Is there something wrong with me that I forgot until the middle of "American Idol" last night? Or is this a new form of junior high peer pressure? After all, no one wants to look like a bad mom! Each child also sends home huge candy treat bags for their birthdays. I sent cupcakes for snack time. Store bought cupcakes. What must the other moms think of me? So Speckles went back today with a few lines of truth about how he spent his weekend~mostly in the middle of a tug-of-war with Amelia and Greta~and a pathetic picture printed from the computer of Amelia in her PJs with Speckles before breakfast. And I feel liberated!


Heaven Sent said...

Hmmmm... something to think about when I choose a preschool. I'm all for parental involvement too, but with more than 1 child, it has to be difficult to do a ton of stuff... not to mention with 3.5 kids!

And I agree with you -- I'm sure the scrap book is more about pressure than anything else. No one wants to look like the bad mom. I'm sure the first mom set the pace and everyone else was just trying to keep up. Good for keeping it real.

Heaven Sent said...

I meant... "Good for you for keeping it real." :o)

ReeRee said...

I'm with you on this one. Noah brought home a stuffed bear in pre-k. I completely forgot about it, so I made everything up. I wrote of the wonderful weekend we had with Mr. Bear at the movies, outside playing, playing games at home, etc. In reality, Mr. Bear stayed in his bag until Monday morning when I snapped a quick pic with Noah and sent him back on his way.
Bad Mommy.

i am not said...

How about it with the treat bags? If they go any further with these things I will have to include a whole stuffed pizza in each one in order to keep up with all of these moms. Nora came home with one yesterday that had a squirt gun, a pad of paper, 3 pens, and several different kinds of candy (in other words, it wasn't like they got the hershey's mini bars and just put a few in each bag). I was kind of disgusted and am getting kind of sick of it. I don't feel like I have to keep up with the moms, but I don't want Nora to feel left out... so I did the goody bags a couple of times and they are time consuming to put together and expensive and I cursed the whole process. Our preschool doesn't allow homemade treats - only store bought, otherwise I would be the mom everyone else was trying to keep up with in terms of the special treats;)

Since Nora's preschool is also a daycare, I have convinced myself that the reason why all these moms go overboard is because they feel guilty for putting their babies in daycare all day. I don't know if that is the reason, but it works for me and I don't feel bad anymore:)

Jen said...

Not to burst your bubble or anything Jana, but in my experience the SAHMs are worse because they seem to be trying to prove something. That they are "earning their keep" so to speak. There are a handful who truly enjoy artsy stuff and like to do the goodie bag thing, but I would guess 75% of them feel the same as us but would cut off their arm before admitting it!

kkoois said...

um...yeah. my frog post would have read like this..."speckles came home with amelia for the weekend. fun was had by all." and then maybe i would have drawn a frog wearing a party hat. not so much into the whole impressing other mother's thing. i will enjoy that feeling until elise is old enough to know what is going on and then i will probably feel like jana and worry that she feels left out. maybe i'll just tell elise that "we on the welfare. we ain't got no ice cream..." (any eddie murphy fans in the crowd?)