If you would have told me 3 years ago that I would be getting stressed out about getting my child into PRESCHOOL I would of laughed at you.
I mistakenly believed that applying and vying for spots in preschool was reserved for bigger cities where competition is fierce and parents are crazy. You know, NYC and SF. But we just moved to BERKELEY, we moved here partly because we didn't want to deal with the craziness of the SF school system! But here I am, stressing over preschool like it's college.
SF has a ridiculous school system. It's a lottery system, not district based. You basically throw your kids name in the lottery pool and then they tell you where your kid is going to school. It does not matter if you live next door to a school and could walk your kid to school you might get put in a school a 45 minute drive away. IT'S WEIRD.
So many parents who put their kids through the public school system in SF tried to tell us it wasn't that bad and you could apply and fight for the school you really wanted (you know, the one next door) and it wasn't THAT hard, but come on...who wants to put that much effort into getting your kid into preschool, then elementary school, then middle school and then again for high school?! I really really did not.
We also were not interested in shelling out $30K a year for private school. That is theoretically possible with one child, but we were never going to settle for one child. So private school was off the table.
So we moved.
There were other reasons for our move as well, but the school system was definitely on the list of reasons to move.
We got here in October. A full year away from the preschool years as Jett had just turned 2. Purely by chance while researching 2 year old programs I discovered that preschool deadlines for the following year were coming up in Dec/Jan!!! A mere 2 months away and we JUST arrived. Luckily I had stumbled upon this because who knew deadlines would be a whole year in advance?! Again, I thought we were leaving the town of crazy school competition.
It turns out because preschool is private and not public (that starts at Kindergarten) the vying for spots exists even out here in the burbs.
It doesn't help that we got very picky about what we wanted in a preschool. After I began researching I discovered that a) preschool is fucking expensive and b) co-ops seemed like the shit.
So I narrowed it down to a co-op. Step 1 complete.
After that the search was dwindled down to only 4 or 5 that existed in the area. After further research the pool got even smaller as my criteria got more involved. Must be play based. Only 3 days a week (more days a week required more time from me as these are co-ops) and accepting of kids that were not yet potty trained (no way was I going to force that issue, if he's not ready he's not ready!) Step 2 complete.
And with that we were left with 2. Only 2 preschools in the area that fulfilled all of my criteria. This was both awesome as it made the choice easy, apply to both, and difficult because FUCK, what do we do if he doesn't get into either?! Step 3 and Done! But...
It turns out he didn't get into either.
It would have been too perfect, right? New baby makes his/her appearance in August and Jett starts preschool three mornings a week in September, such good timing. But alas, it might not be so.
Fortunately for little Jett Jett his birthday allows him to fit perfectly into either this coming year for preschool when he will just barely be 3 and thus one of the youngest in his class OR he would be fine waiting for the following year when he would just barely be 4 and only slightly older than all the littles who turn 4 in Sep/Oct who's birthdays fall after the cutoff for the coming year.
So I'm trying not to stress, either scenario is fine for Jett, but this coming year would be more fine for mommy.
But then to continue the saga, and the stress, and the waiting.
This morning we got an email from one of the preschools saying that Jett is first on the waiting list AND that they had a current family who might be transferring out leaving a spot for Jett!!!
Oh the suspense!
How is everyone else doing with preschool??? I feel like a lot of you had babies at the end of the year Sep and onward of 2012 which means you have another year!