School. Crazy.

Many months ago, we threw Curly’s name into a lottery to try and ‘win’ a spot at our local Montessori school (which is free and considered a public school). There were 33 spots available and half of our county (which as of 2011 contained over 20,000 children under the age of 5) could vie for a spot. Two weeks ago, people received a letter in the mail if their child won the lottery. Our neighbors, who have a boy in Curly’s current daycare class, e-mailed us one afternoon to say they had received a letter in the mail notifying them that their son had gotten in, and their fingers were crossed for us. When we arrived home from work that evening, we had also received a letter: Curly got a spot.

The Montessori school is supposed to be wonderful. It goes from the age of 3 until 8th grade. While our local elementary school is very good, our local middle school is not and we were worried about what we were going to do at that point. It appears we don’t have to worry about that anymore. But there are a lot of other things to worry about…

The first year, 3 year olds go to school from 9 to 11:45am. That’s it. If you don’t have a stay-at-home parent in your family, you have to find somewhere else to bring your child the rest of the day. It’s also closed in the summer, since it’s public school. And there are lots of holidays and other days off, including field trips that 3 year olds cannot attend. Children must be fully potty-trained and self-sufficient at it as well (and all toilets are full-sized!). And the school is located 10 minutes from our house in the opposite direction of our current work and daycare, adding more time to our commutes…plus the fact that we’d have to pick him up on our lunch break. So Nutella and I freaked out about all of this for a few days until we decided that we would continue sending Curly to his current daycare from noon until 5 and during the summer. Our neighbors are most likely going to do the same thing with their son, and already checked with the Director who said it should be fine if we all continue to pay full price.  Huge sigh of relief even though things will continue to be expensive for a while longer. We just have to work it out that he gets fed lunch as soon as he arrives at the daycare, just prior to their nap time.

I took a tour of the school last week and registered Curly as a new student. It was surreal. Surreal to see rows of lockers…to be asking the principal questions…to get lost in the hallways. He is only 3, and yet here we are. I was happy with what I saw though, and we think Curly will thrive in that type of learning environment. He could really use a push into becoming more independent, even though we hear a lot more ‘No, I do it!’ these days.

We’re going to work with our neighbors on developing a schedule so we can alternate drop-off and pick-up, even though that will mean buying a couple more carseats. And then next year, when school goes until 3pm, we’ll have to find an after-care program. And a summer program. And see if Curly can survive that long a day without a nap (sigh). We’ll also have to work on teaching him how to pee standing up this summer so he can attempt to use a full-sized toilet (at least they have stools). It’s going to be a very interesting ride.

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18 responses to “School. Crazy.

  1. It’s GREAT he got in! I know it means more shuffling, but it sounds like you’ve got a good plan in place. I’m psyched for you, and for Curly!

  2. Despite all the logistics to work out it sounds great! And even better than you can share te carpooling!

  3. Awesome, awesome, awesome! Our Montessori school goes through 8th grade as well (and is most definitely not a public school – damn it!). The six months that we have had C in Montessori have convinced me that we will absolutely keep him there through 8th grade if we can afford it. Seriously, Curly will LOVE it and it will be so worth the logistical challenges. Yay!!

  4. well i guess you take the good with the complicated. sounds like a wonderful opportunity. no doubt you ladies will make it work out for curly!

  5. That’s great that he got a spot – we’re having issues figuring this all out as well. Ugh, it seems way too early for all this, right? Anyway, I’m glad you’re figuring out how to make it work!

  6. You will LOVE Montessori. I worked for a couple of years as a Montessori teacher’s aide, and C’s mom is a Montessori teacher, so we have lots of Montessori experience around our house. It’s such a great way to learn. 3 is perfect– he’ll be right at the “little sponge” stage of learning and all those years there will build upon one another. I do think it’s odd that the toilets are full-sized since a big part of Montessori is having child-sized equipment, but I have faith that you’ll get there with the potty training. We had 3 year olds who had accidents and we didn’t kick anyone out of my school. 🙂 You just expect that with preschoolers, especially when they’re still learning the ropes. Yay, I’m so excited for you. My dream is to work at our Montessori charter school and send Juju there with me. I’ll be working on finding a job there in the next few years. 🙂

  7. That’s awesome that you guys got a spot! Sounds complicated but worth it. Can’t wait to hear more about it when he starts.

  8. alexicographer

    Congrats on the Montessori!

    I clicked through to your blog because I was skimming the Stirrup Queens blogroll and liked your title. But having seen this post, though I’d note two things — 1. unless the Montessori has such a rule … why does your DS need to pee standing up? Mine peed sitting down (but independently) on real toilets for some time … ? (We did use a toilet-seat insert, something he could sit on and not risk falling in — wonder if the school would be willing to have one of those on hand? They’re easy to use — just drop in place — and cheap, though there might be cleanliness concerns with using a shared one (no more than toilet seats, though).

    The other thing is that for travel we’ve used for my son a Safe Rider Travel Vest (a google or amazon search will pull one up) in place of a carseat. I’ve checked into and feel comfortable that they are a safe and appropriate alternative (provided they fit) and while they’re no cheaper than a carseat they might be a good alternative for a carpool (as they’re easy to transport).

    Good luck with all the changes that lie ahead!

  9. @Mamaandmummy: The school was converted from a regular middle school into a Montessori, so unfortunately all the toilets are regular sized.

    @alexicographer: They allow step stools, but as far as I know, no potty toppers. Our son is not very coordinated and will most likely either fall in or resist going at all! But we’ll work on it at home soon enough and see if we can find another way. The Travel Vest seems like a good option for actual travel, but since it costs the same (sometimes more) than a car seat, we’ll stick with that. Both boys are used to them and I’m sure it won’t feel fair to one to see his friend in a different set-up than he is 🙂

  10. alexicographer

    Ha — yes, fair enough (I remember those “falling in” days). And no doubt, on the wanting-the-same-sort-of-carseat, thing (on the part of the kids). Good luck — never a dull moment with these little guys…

  11. Very exciting! I’m sure it will all work out with pick ups and drop offs and potties and naps and the like.

  12. reproducinggenius

    What a wonderful opportunity for Curly! While the logistics seem challenging now, it sounds like you’re working toward the right combination of solutions. It’s going to be great! Also, I should share that the students I have encountered at the college level who had a long-term Montessori educations have been my best students. Every time. I’m so excited for your family! Now don’t mind me while I sit here a little jealous about your public Montessori for a moment. 😉

  13. How exciting for Curly! Congrats! I can’t wait to hear how he likes it!

  14. That’s awesome! I wish my son would have gotten into the Montessori school tried to get him into, but he didn’t win during the lottery 😦 I’ll never understand how they expect kids so young to be completely independent during bathroom “duties” so young. My son is in kindergarten and STILL has a problem wiping himself. We throw out many pairs of underwear . …

  15. Sounds super exciting! yay for Curly!

  16. i’ve attempted to comment on several previous posts but didn’t remember my pw to log in and have been too lazy to change it. i finally changed it ; ). congrats on this acceptance, short term you’ll have more hassles to work out but long term it’s going to save you all kinds of cabbage… i’m super psyched for you guys!!

  17. Yay! Congrats on getting a spot! I’m sure Curly will do really well with the transition. We are also stressing about the transition to preschool and using the potty independently, but I think kids adjust really quickly at this age.

  18. Pingback: School Daze | 1 In Vermillion

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