Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Private Kindergarten Post

Here it is as promised:

I no longer like private kindergarten. I love public school. Or, I love our public school...so far. Ava has a delightful 12 year old teacher...this is her first year and she is so darn eager to do a great job...that simply said, I love her and her glue smelling, glitter decked, overly English labeled classroom. She has taught my kid to read, has her in a leadership role helping other children, and has her prepared to spew off more Spanish learned in 3 months than she has learned Mandarin in 3 years of rote learning at Chinese school. I heart public school.

Public kindergarten in my township is still part time. You can of course pay to send your child full time but tax dollars still pay for 1/2 time. This is of course short lived and full time Kindergarten will more definitely be state wide mandated by the time 2 year old Livi gets to school. (Another issue worth debating if I ever sit down long enough to gather random thoughts.)

Ava is a kid sponge and is full of confidence...she has always loved the academic and social parts of preschool. She gets quite saucy when home staring at her unused toys. She loves television and I completely admit to caving on too many occasions letting her zone out in front of the tv rather than listening to whatever ranting and raving she can come up with while bored at home. This is why we decided on supplementing regular public school kindergarten with the private program that is supposed to be arts and literature based rather than beating ABCs and 123s into her little head. However, the teacher who developed the program 15 years ago at arts and literature school up and quit 2 weeks before the school year started. School hired new teacher and she is fine. Yes, fine...nothing terrific...nothing personal, I am sure she is a nice enough person if I ever had the opportunity to say more than 3 words to her.

This is verbose but leading me to my winter of discontent with arts and literature private school. I signed up to be room mom for the class and have offered on numerous occasions to volunteer. Teacher has bitten on my offers to help with class not one time. I was very open and honest when I signed up that I have a 2 year old at home and she is NOT ready to be shipped off to co-op babysitting and is thus attached to my hip. They said fine, no problem while making goo goo eyes at my sweet Liv. So, I filled out the mountain of paperwork getting my $30 background security check while running to the local police department myself and then sending in a fat yellow envelope asking for yet more proof I am not an axe-murderer or child molester. (Keep in mind the school knows that I have been fingerprinted by the local, state and federal governments 2 times in the last 5 years due to the adoptions.) Copies of my last fingerprinting in 2006 would not suffice for the school, they must have yet another fingerprinting to allow me entry to the school or to drive children on field trips.

Last week I volunteered for a field trip. I was told that I couldn't volunteer if I insisted on taking Olivia with me. Couldn't I find a babysitter? Well, no...I have no family in town and the Muffin Man is a little busy working outside the home in order to pay the mortgage. On a side note I did try to swap kids with another mother a few weeks ago and Liv just about lost her marbles during the attempted handoff. If was not pleasant and Livi will be riding my hip until her 18th birthday or her first date, whichever comes first.

Mrs. Arts and Literature explained that I could not be "in charge" of walking children around a museum while watching Olivia too. I get this. I'm ok with it. You can't have parents watching rambunctious 2 year olds AND be responsible for extra 5-6 year olds. I explained that I would drive separately and would have no official duties but I'd be happy to just be another adult to help out where needed. Then Mrs. Arts and Literature says that won't be allowed since it might not be fair to the other parents who actually got babysitters for their younger children and sometimes parents are late for field trips and she doesn't want to have to wait for anyone who is late. What? This is the rationale...don't want to possibly offend a parent who got a babysitter? You are expecting parents to be irresponsible and late for functions? At a kindergarten field trip?

Ok, last week I had my panties all in a twist over this. I've now calmed myself a wee bit. But I did call the PTA president and calmly explained that they might want to review their room parent and field trip handbook for next year. Nowhere does it state that younger siblings will be banished from any and all activities and paying $30 for a background check is completely a waste of time for any parent wanting to help out unless they want to come alone, you will not be allowed to do ANYTHING with the class unless you are ALONE. I also explained that driving separately to a public place cannot be technically banned for a parent with a younger sibling. It is a public place after all. In the same breath I mentioned that I personally would not do this...show up at the field trip uninvited just to see my little darling stare at Native American art for the sake of just being an asshole. But you never know...your policy might not keep the next parent away from a public place on the day of said field trip. Policy that cannot be enforced is usually not a good idea. PTA president said she would take it under advisement.

In the end, I could take Ava out of this program. But perhaps that would be knee jerk and overly dramatic and there are only 5 more months. The class isn't horrible or anything...it is just well...ok. Nothing outstanding.

I'm researching Montessori schools for Liv.


Beverly said...

That teacher sucks. And I would show up on the same day to take Liv to the museum. HA take that Mrs. Arts and Literature Teacher!!


Melissa said...

Too funny. Sorry. BTDT. Going against the school, that is. My daughter, 13, got in trouble for hugging. Two referrals. I told them I will NEVER tell my daughter its bad to hug. Whatever. I guess I'm just saying, its just started. Oh ... and I told the dean of students that I talked to ... you have me for the next four years.

Kimber said...

We have he same rule at our school and I am room parent too. Kate has only been home 8 months and I cannot leave her either. It is SO frustrating. I cannot even go to the class parties with Kate! UGH!

I feel your pain!


Kim said...

I'm a pre-k teacher and I don't mind the little ones in the class as long as mom cleans up any mess made. I have many little brothers and sisters that come when we have parents read or when there is a party. I too was a parent with a younger child who needed to be with me. My sons are 10 years apart.