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2's Be, or Not 2's Be?

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Paul Starke: Of all the surreal things that have transpired during 16 months of fatherhood, the most surreal occurred earlier this week, when I made an appointment to tour ...a PRESCHOOL. Again, Luke is 16 months old. He's barely mastered walking without falling, and as far as I can tell, his most impressive skill is his ability to stick several fingers into each of his nostrils simultaneously. From what I've heard, said skill will not go over well at the preschool interview.

parents laughing on a preschool tour with angry principal

Apparently, in New York, Luke must enroll in an expensive "2's program" for next fall (2010). Failure to do so means that not only Ivy League but also community college will be out of reach for him, and he'll be destined to spend his life wrapping Chalupas while attending town hall meetings screaming about socialism. We can't have that. So, not only do we have to enroll by next fall, but we also have to APPLY by this October! And part of the application process for these schools is some sort "American Idol"-style baby audition, where Luke interacts with other disinterested toddlers while educators take notes. I do hope that Luke doesn't sound too "pitchy."

In all honesty, I'm not too concerned about how Luke will go over with the preschool panel. He's quite charming and funny and he's stopped grabbing his balls all the time (unlike his father). No, I'm more worried about my wife and me. Our sense of humor (see "balls" joke above), can be a bit -- sophomoric. That's what I love about my wife, and what people usually hate about us. I don't know if I can avoid making jokes about glue sniffing while on the school tour.

But who knows, maybe being labeled as "undesirables" won't be such a bad thing. The thought of spending thousands of dollars on a few hours a week of toy-throwing and pants-s***ting seems like kind of a waste of money. I know I didn't start school until I was 4 years old, and look how well I turned out? Horrible example. I guess what I want to know is -- are "2's programs" really that vital, or can Luke get by on Sesame Street and old Sports Illustrated issues (our version of home-schooling) until Pre-K? I want Luke to get a great education, but have I been drinking the Kool-Aid on these programs? Please advise -- and any tips for seeming "grown up" during the interview process will be most appreciated as well.

In the meantime, I have to go to the bathroom for a "2's program" of my own (See? I couldn't help it. We won't be getting accepted anywhere...)



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9 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kelley August 21, 2009, 5:13 PM

My son didn’t go to preschool until the year before he started Kindergarten and he’s a well-adjusted, well-liked boy who can write his name neater than my husband. Don’t worry so much. A lot of that crap is just that…crap. Do what you think is right.

Kelli  August 21, 2009, 7:55 PM

My daughter is also 16 months and I have no plans on anytype of “pre-school” till she is 3. My neice went to half a day when she was 3 and a few hrs longer when she was 4 and now she is in 1st grade and she is doing wonderfully & I plan on doing it the same way. I think “2’s programs” are worthless. I am sure my daughter will learn more at home with me & she gets interaction with other kids on her play-dates and I won’t be throwing money away for an expensive babysitter for a few hours.

Mary August 21, 2009, 7:59 PM

A 2s program was important for us because our boy has zero cousins, and none of our friends have kids. So it was either play silently next to the kids at the mall playground, or get him into a 2x weekly class. It’s the best thing we could have done for him, as he got the socialization he needed and the independence of being away from us for awhile.

We’ll have to wait for the cutthroat world of PSATs and whatnot to find out if he’s Ivy League material, at least out here in Texas.

ashley August 22, 2009, 8:01 AM

Sesame Street and Sports Illustrated worked for us. OUr son ( he just started 2nd grade) went to Head Start at 4 and he has not had any problems. Except handwriting, he is a lefty and a boy (both disadvantages!) and last year had some problems. He also was trying to make each letter perfect. BUt now he’s fine and I don’t think being in school at 2 or 3 would have made a difference. TO the poster above, our son didn’t have many kid friends either and it just took him a little while to get adjusted to so many other kids.
Now as for my daughter, she is 2 and my mil wants me to put her into PreK next year. I just don’t want to let her go that early. She is my last baby and I want her to stay that way as long as possible.

Dawn @Moms Inspire Learning August 22, 2009, 4:44 PM

I did let my son start nursery school when he was 2 1/2, but only because I found a cooperative nursery school which offered a socialization program.

Children need to learn through play at that age. It’s important for them to have access to a variety of hands-on materials (like blocks, Legos, finger paint, etc…), but they also need to be surrounded by caring adults, as well as other children.

The socialization program was not a place for formal lessons. There was a room for building and dressing up, another for art related activities, and a beautiful playground. There were always adults watching over them in each area, so the children could choose to move from one area to another whenever they wanted to.

I can’t say enough about this program. Years later, my son still keeps in touch with some of the friends he met there. They are some of the most creative tweens I have ever met.

So, do I think a formal preschool is necessary at that age? Absolutely not, unless it’s a place for them to figure things out on their own. My daughter did not attend one at that age, and this summer she wrote a book that she’s trying to get published!

As a parent, you are your child’s first, and most influential, teacher. Luke will watch everything you say and do. If you play with him, and put him on your lap and read to him, that’s really what he needs the most right now.

Whatever you decide, please enjoy this special time with him. It goes by really fast!

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Keys May 21, 2011, 10:53 AM

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Lacey May 22, 2011, 8:37 AM

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