Monday, March 1, 2010

Preschool - Take 2

I went to register Marisa for Preschool today. Kira, upon hearing that Marisa would be going off to school next fall, asked if she could go with Marisa. Kira tried Preschool last year, but was unhappy there for various reasons. She is currently 5 years old, so I thought they would not allow her to enroll. However, all that was needed was for me to sign a waiver stating that I understood that she would be in a class with children who are at least a full year younger than her. Because we have no intention of sending her off to Kindergarten, I have no problem with her spending her "Kindergarten" year in a Preschool classroom. I'm hoping that she will actually enjoy this more than she did the last time we tried this. There are a couple of things that might actually make it easier for her.

First, she is actually enrolled in the class this time and NOT on a waiting list. She will begin school at the beginning of the school year along with everybody else.

Second, Marisa will be going, too. She won't be wondering what she is missing at home. She'll know that Marisa is getting any special attention while she's away at school.

Third, she won't have the same level of physical limitations because she has progressed so rapidly this year. She still can not sit with her legs criss-crossed, but at least she can run now.

Marisa and Kira will be assigned to separate classrooms, but the rooms are side by side with a shared bathroom area. There is an open space that will allow the girls to see each other, speak to each other, and perhaps even play together for part of their day if the need arises.

After I finished the registration process and came home to tell my husband that both girls were going to attend, but in separate classroom, Kira immediately started asking questions about how far she would be away from Marisa. I actually ended up driving her over to the facility so she could tour the classrooms. Luckily, the director and assistant director kindly allowed us to do that. Kira met both of the teachers and determined that either teacher and either room would be perfectly acceptable for her. She also stopped bugging me about how far away Marisa would be - which was my whole purpose. Kira is very timid and needy. She feels much more confident when her baby sister is nearby. You would think that it would be the other way around... I'm hoping that this opportunity to explore her own identity with Marisa being nearby, but not too close, will help Kira become more confident in herself.

One thing that pleased me about this facility is that they follow The Creative Curriculum System. From what the director said, this system follows similar lines as Unschooling. The director explained to me that the teachers create and submit weekly lesson plans which are on display for the parents to review. However, if the students are talking about a specific topic one day, the teachers will adjust their plans accordingly in order to explore the topic that has caught the interest of the children.

It is important to remember that home schooling - and unschooling - does not necessarily mean that I am the only teacher my children will ever know. It means that I know how to find and use the resources that are available to me in order to provide my children with the best education possible.