Yay for Hippy Dippy Preschools

In Family on May 30, 2008 at 1:27 pm

It’s been a stressful week. Madeleine’s teacher/preschool director announced last week that she and her husband would be relocating and therefore closing the school that’s run in their home.

Well, that’s unofficially a “school” since it’s in a home, but that’s an argument for the bureaucrats.

Anyhoo…while M will be moving on to kindergarten, the school’s closing left us without a preschool for Dax — the week before Memorial Day. Any parent of preschoolers knows that the mad rush for finding “the” school was several months ago. Generally late January or February is registration time in this area, with the “it” schools taking reservations for observations a full year before a kid can enroll.

This is craziness, isn’t it? But here I am in the middle of it all, largely annoyed that no one else in the preschool universe will take a 3-year-old for two full days a week. Crap.

After seeing 5 schools in as many days, I was ready to throw in the towel and sign up with a popluar church-based preschool between home and the gym. I was overly tired on Wednesday and just disgusted with the thought of looking at yet another school, as I’d scheduled to do on Thursday. Richard talked me into going, even though I was yapping about the place being over the Severn River from us (ick…driving over the bridge).

So M, D, and I drove over to the school (oh wait, it’s another not-really-school attached to a home) yesterday morning. Three other moms from the closing school were there too, and we were all nearly falling over ourselves to get enrollment forms after the first 5 minutes.

This whole preschool search seems to be underscoring our bent for the unconventional. Oh sure, we look all average in our picket-fenced Cape Cod and our polos and khakis, but we’ve got some ideas under our hats that get the raised eyebrow from many. Old school was a Montessori. New school is Reggio Emilia. Some people actually think these approaches (or Waldorf and others) are at best misguided and at worst cultish. They’re hippy dippy and touchy feely and they’re working on saving the world from its own ugliness. Some people avoid these educational styles and flock (like sheep?) to conventional models.

I don’t get it.

I don’t get how someone can walk into a serene, well-lit environment where kids serve themselves banana bread that they mixed themselves right after doing four digit subtraction and just before doing yoga, and NOT fall in love. Are you kidding me? Send my kid to the school with the alphabet on the wall at my eye level where a teacher unpacks their lunch for them instead? No way.

I also don’t get how teachers, once exposed to approaches that emphasize how capable kids already are as toddlers versus how much information needs to be poured into them, can opt for the latter.

So maybe I’m a sucker for feeling like I’m finicky. Maybe all that minimimalist natural wood grain decor is really just appealing to my aesthetic sense.

Whatever. Give me and my crazy kids the hippy dippy school. We like it here outside the box.

  1. Hi Bridget, here I sit surfing the web for a Reggio Emilia school that a friend recently told us about and what pops up but your blog. Wow. Small world. Sounds like you were impressed with it. I’m going to call to see what you thought. By the way, you are an excellent writer. Caryn

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