I’ve had school on the brain lately. See, we’ve been school shopping. By which I do not mean lovingly selecting office supplies (I heart office supplies mucho), but trying on some school situations for size.
This is what we’ve been considering for the 2016-2017 school year for Henry’s fourth year of life.
Option 1: Pay for preschool
We had a meeting a bit back at Core International School. I really liked it. The classrooms are a bit small, but they have good outdoor space. It sounds like a good mix of structured activities and play. Although some kids might speak other languages, Henry would have more opportunities to interact with kids in English.
But there are cons.
1) This is a pricey option. No assistance for school for us until the kid is 5. That means the whole tuition would be out of our pockets.
2) It would drastically change my day-to-day routine. Drop off is between 8:30 and 9:00. Right now I can barely get us to Henry’s current school by 9:30. We would have to get up earlier, which probably means going to bed earlier. I’ve told you guys before; I don’t like feeling rushed somewhere if I don’t have to. I predict that every morning would feel rushed.
The school is still walkable, but it would be a longer walk. More like 15-20 minutes instead of 10. Definitely doable, but I’m hesitant on committing to that twice a day in who knows what kind of weather.
3) It would also change our vacation planning. We’d be stuck on the school schedule for holidays. We are looking at many years of this going forward. Do I really want to commit before I have to?
4) Mac would have to make his own arrangements. The school doesn’t start until 3. That means if I want something for Mac, I’d be looking at two school drops. Yikes. Unsubscribe.
We were offered a place, but spoiler alert (or spoilert as Henry says), we decided to turn it down. Core seems like a great school, but probably not a great fit for us at the moment.
Option 2: Go full on Italian
It is my understanding that we are eligible for the almost-free Italian public preschool here. We would have to do an onerous application process that I believe would be in February. No guarantee of getting a spot or a convenient school.
Pros: Very cheap. Henry would get all the language immersion he ever wanted.
Cons: It would be full day. I’m not sure I’m ready for full day every day. I imagine that the language barrier could be stressful for Henry, at least in the early days. I’m sure it would be stressful for me.
Maybe we’ll try it out. I know some people who have done it. I need to follow up with them to get more deets.
Option 3: More of the same
We could continue with our current situation which I do generally like. Henry has some friends there. I know the routine. Mac would be able to attend as well. It is convenient and affordable.
One of my friends asked why we would want to do something different. I think my quest started when Henry had a really rocky month after we started back post-summer break. After everything had been hunky dory, he was a mess going to school. Getting out of the house was a disaster. They had to peel him off of me. Every. Single. Time.
He had just moved up a class, and I worried that maybe something wasn’t working out with his new teachers. But now it seems like things are fine. Go figure.
I also sometimes worry that this isn’t the best I could be doing. I’m not very concerned with any sort of pre-academics. I basically want Henry to have more opportunity to hang with other kids and do kid stuff. The problem is the language barrier. Yes, they can play, and yes, some kids speak English, but Henry can’t really get into imaginative role play. They just can’t communicate on that level.
I’m also not very concerned with Henry becoming fluent in Italian. I’d love for him to have exposure, and it would be great if he picked some up, but it isn’t an overarching goal. With the current deal, however, he isn’t getting as much Italian as he could. The school has been hiring lots of native English speakers so that the Italians kids get language exposure. Makes sense. But it means that Henry isn’t getting as much Italian as he could.
So is it worst of both worlds? More limited opportunities to interact because of the language barrier without as much actual language exposure? I don’t know.
I also worry that they are going to cancel baby parking at some point for me. If that happens, we’ll have to crunch some numbers to see if we want to pay the full monthly fee for one or two children. Day care here is definitely cheaper than DC. But it is more expensive than not doing anything.
Option 4: ?
Sometimes I think that maybe I want more time with the kids. They are going to be in school soon. Maybe I shouldn’t rush it. Maybe we should renew our zoo membership and get a membership to Explora and just put together our own routine. I still loathe dealing with art supplies, but I could get better?
I mean there are so many cool things to learn! The other day I looked at volcano videos with Henry. I got to see someone see a volcano erupting for the first time. Blew my mind a little. Like the metaphorical magma transforming into lava as it hit the air.
Or maybe there is some other school solution I haven’t thought of yet. Whatever we do, I hope it all works out in the end. Education probably doesn’t really matter that much anyway.
Any words of wisdom? Agonized on your own school solution? I guess I knew this would be a thing; I just thought I had more time!