Tuesday, January 19, 2010

crazy making

Well, the book has sent me into a spin. Dammit. And I can't stop eating cookies, but that's a separate issue. Maybe.

What happened is that I became disgruntled with Frances's preschool--specifically that the kids don't go outside if it's cold. (Do you remember where we live?) I'm serious. Their policy is that it has to be over 32 degrees and not precipitating. They can't go out when it's snowing? I don't want my child to be indoors six months of the year, which is what that would amount to. When I talked to the director about it she assured me that the kids go to the large muscle room and they do obstacle courses in the hallways and they run in the auditorium upstairs, that they get exercise. I trust that they do. They have plenty of room in the building, as it's one wing of a synagogue, but that's not my issue. I of course want Frances to be running and climbing, but I also want her outside. I believe fresh air is really important, and I believe children (and adults too...) benefit from interacting with the earth, the natural world. I know I know that it takes forever to get the kids bundled up but isn't that what preschool is about? Processes and routines? Yes, it's cold. But twenty minutes outside isn't going to do any kid harm.

I also have an issue with the art work the kids are producing, which all look suspiciously alike. I'd rather have Frances bring home ugly scribbles or free-form painting messes than snowmen made of doilies and orange noses cut out by the teacher.

Plus, they give the kids cookies for snack.

The book hasn't been helping this--it makes the ridiculous and sweeping claim that, in the first 4 years of life, a person learns 50% of everything she'll ever learn. What kind of stupid unscientific unsupported statement is that? Yet it's made me crazy thinking how important this decision of preschool is. It's been enough to make me want to send her somewhere else next year.

What I want is a Waldorf school, or a Friends school, both of which I could have in Durham, NC. Alas, we are not in Durham. (This brings me to a thing I've been practicing... rather than mourn about what I can't have here, I simply acknowledge that--yes, if we were somewhere else we could have a Friends school or ski hill or downtown within walking distance--but we're not. That is the reality. Here has lots of benefits that I'm not going to list just now, and here is where we are. Rather than bemoan the situation, just see what the best options before me are.

Turns out there is a Waldorf school here, but it's brand new and run by one woman out of her home and there are only eight kids. Are any of those things a problem? For some reason I thought last year it was important to have F in a facility with infrastructure. I have no idea what benefit I thought that had. This school looks pretty amazing. But then I read up on the Waldorf philosophy and for the most part I'm all for it, but there are some things that just seem a little ridiculous. Like, from what I understand, they only paint with watercolors. Something about learning how the colors mix and the naturalness of the material or something. Just seems a little extreme. Anyway, I'll be going to the open house in a couple of weeks and can see for myself, and can see how Frances acts in that environment.

I just wanna stop the crazy whirlwind in my head. I think I'll stop reading for a while.


andrea said...

I totally agree with you about kids being and exploring outside!!
We learn about who we are and how we relate to the world. We learn limits and push boundaries, we create new worlds and renew our spirit and then feel like warm bread when we enter back into our caves.
I believe children should play out in all weather... they just need the right clothes ;)

I knew you were an amazing writer and am so excited to take time to read your blog.
Inspiring and engaging.

We are home on a snow day and just came in from sledding.
I also take care of kids in my home part time so I guess what you are living through daily, I can relate to on many levels.


Cali said...

Thanks so much for your comment, Andrea! And very well put--outside play does indeed renew our spirit, and that's what I want my children to experience. Thanks for the compliments, and for reading the blog! Hope you're doing well. Is great to hear from you. ~C