Back in September I started to agonize about the Kindergarten situation for C. Then M and I did a bunch of research and we visited two schools. One, a public magnet school, the other a private Montessori program. I ranted about how hard it was to pick between the two over on Silicon Valley Moms blog. (Sorry. Totally forgot to link to that.. Oops. Better late than never and all that.)
The short of it is that the public school program gave me lots of warm fuzzies, but their lack of funding and resources really worries us. Plus the parental participation requirements are astronomical and the odds of getting in are slim. The private school is small, good, has every resource that the public school doesn’t, and we can get in. But I didn’t get any warm fuzzies from it.
But I’m not the one going to Kindergarten. C is. Luckily the private school requires two shadow days as part of their registration process. Wisely I decided to set aside my reservations long enough to see what she thought about the place.
The first shadow day was today.
It didn’t go very well.
She was very excited to go, almost bouncing her way in through the front gate. She even went off with the teacher without a backwards glance. But when I picked her up she wasn’t as cheerful as I hoped.
Turns out she was teamed up with a ‘partner,’ a mentor of sorts, and the girl was… let’s say… pushy.
As we walked back to the car C told me in a quiet voice that she was a bit nervous about going back in the morning. The girl had spent the day telling her what to do, where to go, when to do stuff. She stressed her out about how long she was taking to eat her snack, and I get the feeling that she didn’t give her a lot of space to explore the classroom.
Ironic given that it’s a Montessori program.
C is a ruler follower. The teacher told her to stay close to her partner so she did, even though she spotted another girl she liked much more, even though she wanted to check stuff out on her own, even though the girl was making her very uncomfortable.
While I’ve always sworn that I’d let my kids fight their own battles and wouldn’t intervene if at all possible, as soon as I dropped her off at daycare I called the school’s office and asked that she be paired up with another child tomorrow. I hate being that mom, the one who calls and complains every time a child looks at her precious baby crosseyed. I want my kids to learn how to deal with bullies, to figure out how to make a friendship work. I want them to know how to stand on their own two feet without relying on me to fight their battles.
But she has 6 hours to fall in love with this school, and three of them were less than positive. She doesn’t have time to turn this relationship around. So I made the call. Tomorrow she’ll have another partner.
Sadly, by the time I picked her up from daycare tonight she had decided that she didn’t want to go back. Not even after I promised that she’d have a different partner. It took a while for her to explain, but she’d rather have no partner at all. She just wants to explore the place on her own, no pressures, no bossy girls telling her what to do, just a little girl finding her own footing.
I just hope I have a moment to explain that to the people at the school tomorrow and that they’re willing to listen.