We're thinking of sending Abe to preschool in the fall a couple of days a week, just for a few hours. I realize we're late to the game with wait-lists for enrollment and such, but I don't feel like it will be a huge tragedy if he's not in a program at age three (more on that subject later). We visited one potential class for him, and here are some of my first impressions of the teacher:
1. She told us that Abe doesn't look at all Ethiopian. She qualified her judgment by saying that she knows a lot of Ethiopians. I'm not sure what to think about this. I had no idea how to respond to her voicing this opinion.
2. Her first question when the subject of adoption came up was why we adopted "there and not here."
3. She told us about some of her acquaintances who have not told their Chinese child who was adopted the truth about her story. The adoptive parents are Chinese also, so it's been easy to hide the truth. She agrees this is not a good thing. But then when I mentioned that we have always told Abe his story, she said, "Well of course because it's obvious that he's not your child."
I bit my tongue. I wonder if I should have asked her, "If he's not our child, then whose is he?" I know what she meant. She meant to say that he doesn't look like us because he's not our biological child/child by birth. I don't nitpick with random strangers we meet who may not be familiar with positive adoption-speak. But a teacher? Yes, I hold an educator to a higher standard. I don't want Abe in a class where he might hear the words from his teacher that he's not our child. No, no thank you.
4. Outside play is only a reward for good behavior.
5. When I asked what snacks the kids eat, she simply said, "Healthy snacks." Well, more specific please? Your standard for what is healthy may not be my standard for what is healthy.
6. The kids (age three, mind you) are given homework. I have no problem with homework, just probably not at age three. The homework is this: photocopied pages from a coloring book so they can "practice coloring inside the lines." Something about this doesn't sit right with me. Isn't there a better way of getting kids to improve their fine-motor skills than to send them home with pages from a coloring book? If any of you early childhood education experts have thoughts about this, I'd love to hear them. I really would. I've already googled "coloring inside the lines" and have gotten some interesting perspectives.
For now, I just don't feel this class is the best fit for us.
What are the benefits to you of your child being in preschool? If kids are read to at home, go on 'field trips' to museums, get play-time with friends several times a week, have opportunities for art projects, get lots of outside play-time, is it so bad for them not to start preschool until age four or kindergarten at five?
One thing I did like about what this teacher said is that she's not even convinced that three-year-olds need to be in school. Age four is fine. But three is "borderline." Hm. Thoughts?