When I was a kid, I went to nursery school at 4, then kindergarten at 5, and the rest is pretty much a blur.
Only when other Brooklyn parents started pressuring us -- "you MUST enroll Luke in a 2's program" -- did we start to freak out. Although we haven't decided what to do yet, we decided to set up some informal interviews at some local preschools to see exactly why a 2's program was deemed a necessity. This morning, we had our first such interview -- along with a handful of other parents -- and it was quite a learning experience. And by that I mean, the school learned that my wife and I are morons.
We showed up on time, which was unusual, and saw five couples sitting on chairs in a semicircle, waiting for the school director. Almost everyone was on their BlackBerry and drinking Starbucks. I, in an attempt to quit smoking, was chewing Nicorette. That was my first mistake, as a faculty member told me that I wasn't allowed to chew gum. That makes sense, I guess, since this was school after all. "But it's Nicorette," I protested, stupidly. Strike 2.
The school was actually beautiful, the staff was extremely knowledgeable and courteous (and I'm not just writing this in case they Google me. Do administrators Google parents as part of the application process? If so, there are some college photos I need to take off Facebook immediately), and the other parents were armed with questions that made us realize just how deficient we've been in researching the process. EVERY parent had a question -- some were pointed ("What's the teacher/student ratio?") and others were not ("What's the glitter/construction paper ratio?"), but I instantly got the impression that we were being evaluated on whether or not we had a question. It was like being in school all over again, except I wasn't wearing a Hall & Oates concert T-shirt. I tried to think of a question on the spot, a question that made it seem like we were engaged in the process.
"So, is there like -- a school nurse or something?"
As I said it, I realized that perhaps it could have been phrased more artfully (I could have asked, "What happens in the event of an emergency?"), but instead, I sounded like Beavis.
I was told that most of the staff is trained in CPR, and in the event of an incident, we will be called immediately. I felt the other parents snickering at me with their minds, and I felt Melissa kicking me in the shins.
Our next interview is in November -- any tips would be greatly appreciated ...
|Paul Starke is an Emmy-winning TV producer, and a co-writer of the #1 New York Times bestseller, "An Inconvenient Book."|