Preschool

We got an exciting voice message yesterday and now have a big decision to make.

Sam will be starting preschool in just a few weeks time and back in February we had applied to two local schools. We really liked the Grant Park Co-operative Preschool but had little chance of getting Sam a place. At the open day after being shown how wonderful the school is a (very) large roomful of parents were then told that actually there was only one, possibly two, spots left vacant for the coming year. That they were prioritised to residents of Grant Park or Cabbagetown dependent on which campus you wanted to send your child, and that we had to pay to enter a lottery for those elusive spots. Stubbornly I persuaded Bill to take a gamble and say bye bye to $50 to enter the Cabbagetown drawing in hope of getting lucky.

Meanwhile another local preschool had their registration. This one was first come first served and Bill got up very early that day and joined a queue of hopeful parents. He didn’t get there as early as he had intended thanks to a little bout of morning sickness on my part, but he was still in line outside the school several hours before the doors were due to open. We couldn’t believe he was still something like parent number fourteen in the queue. Luckily for Sam the two year old class was expanding this year and he squeaked into a spot in the second class that was forming.

Getting a preschool spot for Sam was a relief, you have no idea how tightly contested places are, and how expensive it can get to even apply for them. However, I was still hoping to get lucky with GPCP, but on lottery day Sam did not win. He did make it to the head of the waiting list though. This was great, but also disappointing and with no guarantee of an opening, tantalising. With baited breath we waited until the very last moment to pay our deposit and first tuition fee for the confirmed school, but heard nothing and wrote a hefty cheque at the beginning of the month.

Of course, now I get a phone call from GPCP saying that a child has dropped out and Sam has a spot if he wants it! Aaargh! Fantastic news, but it’s going to cost us! We can wave bye bye to the money paid to the other school for starters.

At the back of my mind I am also wondering how long Sam will be able to keep his spot for. Bill’s been pondering a move away from Atlanta again recently. We really need to make some big decisions about our house and where we really want to bring the kids up too. Will we just be throwing more money away on deposits if we make a switch?

The spot at GPCP is also for three mornings a week instead of the two we had originally planned so that’ll be more money to stump up too.

Enrolling at GPCP also requires a lot of parental involvement, which I am excited about as it’ll be fun to have to go in and help out, but I’m also nervous about finding the time with a new baby around too. How on earth am I even going to be able to get Sam up and dressed and ready for school at nine three mornings a week?! This is going to have to take some organisation and waking up in the mornings! We don’t really do schedules very well Sam and I!

I’m dead excited for Sam though, I really think he’ll get a lot out of this preschool experience. Big changes afoot for Sam and I. I really think this school will be better for us. Sam and I visited both classrooms when we were researching and I got much better vibes from GPCP. The other place was good, but felt a bit grubby and more like a day care. The children were a supervised gaggle as opposed to the individual sparks of adventure and enthusiasm at GP. I felt the teachers at GPCP were much more motivational and engaging.

The location and timing of their school day is also a lot more convenient as Bill would be able to help more easily and drop Sam off on his way to MARTA in the mornings.

You know, I think my mind is set. I’ll be calling GPCP on Monday morning.

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