Friday, May 6, 2011

Father's Business

We decided it was time to send our 3-year-old to pre-school, so we did our research and found one a block away from our house. Literally a two minute walk. It was recommended by friends and co-workers. It looked nice. The teachers looked nice. The kids seemed friendly. The teacher who took me on a tour noticed I had a foreign accent, so she told me the kids came from many different countries because a lot of the parents were students and teachers at Johns Hopkins University. It was all pretty much a no-brainer.

Sure, we did a little rethinking when we found out the kids had a Christmas pageant, but in the end, being Atheists doesn't mean we're anti-religion, so that was fine.

Really, it all looked great.

So I go there just one more time and grab an application. It's a short one, so really there shouldn't be any problem...

fathers business

For me, as a stay-at-home dad, that was a deal-breaker.
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  1. Seriously. You need to run away from there fast before they turn evil with glowing eyes.

  2. Yep. We ended up with a different school. It's actually a 30 minute drive, but no one asks for my business address (or my religion). And their application includes apostrophes.

  3. OH! I was confused, because if they ask for your business address, I don't understand why that wouldn't just be your home address.

    Or was it that they asked for your business address and not honey's business address? The religious affiliation thing wouldn't have bothered me either. We're a religious school and that's on our application. We have mostly Jewish kids, but we have one or two Christian kids every year, an occasional Muslim kid, and many, many mixed families. It's a nice thing to be able to know about the kids in your class because it just helps discussions since three and four year olds usually leave out lots and lots of pertinent information when they try & explain stuff.

    The apostrophe thing makes total sense though! :-) I'm actually really afraid I left apostrophes off some of the kids' mothers' day (mother's day?) gifts this year! We were so rushed because the potholders we put their little hand prints on didn't come in until after school Wednesday! So we only had Thursday to make them. I think I forgot an apostrophe or two and then put it indiscriminately before and after the "s" on others. I hope not! But I'm afraid I might have.

  4. I think all together, it made for a very traditional image they were portraying. I'm not looking for a place that would teach my kid he's a wandering soul inhabiting a vessel as part of the Gaia universe, but at least an acknowledgment that a father's work (whatever that is) is not by definition more important than a mother's work.

    The religion thing would have bothered me, but it would probably not have been a deal-breaker. We ended up signing him up at the JCC, where no one needs to know what God the family prays to. There's actually a Catholic Montessori school not far from here, and as part of the application you need to give the kid's Baptismal Record. That WOULD probably have been a deal-breaker...

  5. Yeah, I was sort of thinking that too. It's funny because my school is pretty traditional & I think there are some families that probably would feel more at home in a much less traditional environment, but because they want the religion, they end up in a more traditional school.

  6. Definitely not PC, but it could also be a really dated form? I mean, why not ask for the Mother's Business Address either? Moms work, too. Weird. I'm curious why you thought it was so offensive that you forewent the other conveniences and attractions about the school to one so far away? Was it just a matter of principle?

  7. Jill, I think the JCC is also traditional in a way. When we visited, we saw 3-year-old kids walking in line, which was a bit shocking to me. But I also think there's good traditional and there's traditional that needs to go away...

    AmateurParent, thanks for the comment. You're right about it looking like a dated form, but I think that by itself says a lot. For them not do make small changes to their 60 year old form means they don't think it needs a change. And... well, I'd like to think that I didn't do it just for principle, but because this form is the proof I need that the school is a bad fit for our family. I mean, it's offensive, but more importantly, it's telling.

  8. I'm really pretty strict about my three year olds walking in line and NOT bec. it's expected at my school (although it is). I just find it impossible to keep count and make sure I don't lose any of them when they're all in a mob, y'know? :-) :-) :-)

    No, seriously! My school is really big - there are more 48 kids just in my grade level (threes turning four) and there are ten grade levels. Even though mine is probably the biggest grade level, it's still a huge, huge building. I count heads CONSTANTLY.

    I don't think it's age appropriate and I don't agree with the theory that you always have to be "getting them ready" for the next stage of the game. I do think that they will learn skills such as staying in a line much, much easier when they get to be five or even four.

    But practically speaking, I go batty when they don't make a semi-decent line. It's just too hard to make certain I haven't left one somewhere. When I worked in a smaller school, it didn't bother me if they made a line or a rectangle or a blog, because I knew there were only a few places I'd need to look if one of them escaped somehow... :-) :-) :-)

  9. Yeah, actually I meant to type that it didn't bother me if they made a BLOB, not a BLOG. Because I'd actually be sort of impressed if they made a blog...

  10. Oh it's been a good, long while since I've totally usurped the comments on your blog hasn't it?

    I had to though! I never really said that I think you're completely right - the little things CAN be telling and it's important to find a good "fit" with a school. You want to feel like your parenting style is being *supported*, which you can't really feel if the little things don't add up to reflect the way you feel about raising your child.

    One thing I like to see when I'm looking at schools is lunchtime. I think the atmosphere at lunch can really say a lot and is not always a time that parents thinkk about observing.

    AND good luck with the presschool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. I think in the end, the thing that sold us on the school we chose was the tiny vegetable-growing rectangle outside. I'm very excited about the idea of him making (and eating) vegetables.

    A friend of mine actually sent me this link today. It's a TED lecture about education, and even if you don't agree with all of it (I don't), I'm sure you'll enjoy it:

  12. Oh, you shouldn't work so hard with cut and pastes! Let me make this into a working link:

    TED Lecture

  13. Oh wow. I would have been taken aback by that form as well. Dated form or not, I really don't think it is acceptable. I'm actually surprised it didn't ask for ethnicity and political views as well. :b

    I admire you for not just taking the convenient route and finding a school that fits better with you and your family.

  14. Jill, usurp away! I'm learning my parenting style as I go along, but I know what I don't like, you know? This was going to be bad. That application letter probably saved us all a whole lot of headaches.

    Church Fans, thanks. And you're right about the ethnicity and political views. Maybe that would have been a hidden part of the face to face meeting I ended up cancelling...

  15. Sometimes it is quite difficult for parents to select a pre-school. Of course, parents always want to select a pre-school that is closest to their house. But, it is not always the best choice. Selecting a pre-school it always makes sense for parents to research reviews of people and see their opinions.

  16. Funny. It is the first time I saw such application form asking for a religious affiliation. I think it is just a matter of social principle as for them, and there is a possibility that they don't want different beliefs to interfere with the education of the kids. Well sir, that's for being a experience weird and funny stuffs as you go along raising your kids. Your blog is quite something. Happy parenting!
    Yui H.

  17. I love it! I especially love how you found a preschool that uses apostrophes. That would've bothered me, too!

  18. Thanks. Glad you came over here, since I felt a bit spam-ish linking to this post on your blog.

  19. I have lived from NYC, L.A., PA, & Seattle... with My kids in tow..
    I have filled out so many forms over the years that I just use to leave areas blank.
    I was a stay at home mom, and they asked for my 1)occupation and 2) Biz address:
    I wrote in 1) MOM 2) HOME
    They tend to leave me alone....LOL..

  20. charlywalker, I know what you mean--I still write NONE, but maybe I should write DAD instead. The thing about the form I had to fill out was that it only asked for the father's business address, which was crazy. It's like they're saying, "If Mom makes a little spare change to keep her busy, that's cute, but the real important thing is where Dad works."



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