3 preschools all parents should run from
It’s mid-winter! Preschool enrollment time! For moms, choosing the right preschool can be as stressful as the Great Lululemon Yoga Pants Recall of 2013.
Because my family has moved so often, I repeated the process in five different towns for three different children. From experience, I can tell you there are good schools and not good schools. Avoid these types of preschools at all costs:
Bountiful Turnip invited me to their fundraiser to get a feel for their “life-force.”
I expected a bouncy house and face painting, but instead I saw cotton candy lances; a “grog” stand; and a man in a woolen tunic eating what appeared to be an antelope leg.
There were games like “Fish for Fairies,” “Look for Fairies,” and “Where Are the Fairies?”
When I saw the director of the school, she said, “Hopefully this gives you an idea of what our school is like!”
“Well, I see lots of fairy games here,” I said.
“Yes, fairies are a big part of the curriculum.”
I was taken aback. I don’t often hear “fairies” juxtaposed with “curriculum.” I asked, “What about your method of teaching? Numbers, reading, that sort of thing?”
Startled, she jerked her head and sideswiped me with her medieval cone princess headdress. “We don’t let children read in preschool! No books until they’re seven. Then they’re STARVING to read! And it just happens magically!”
I didn’t ask if the magic involved fairy dust because I was already pulling out of Ye Olde Parking Lot.
Clinical Enrichment had white walls, white floors, and nothing else.
“Where are the toys?” I asked the director.
“They’re in the closets. Otherwise it’s cluttered.”
“Are there any art supplies?”
“Each child gets one notebook and a pencil. Otherwise it’s messy.”
When I asked if they had Play-Doh, she merely gasped and reached for a pill bottle in her drawer. “So will you be joining us?”
“I have to say, I think I’m looking for a place that has more warmth.”
“We have warmth,” she said.
“Sorry, I didn’t sense that.”
“That’s because today’s not a Warmth Day.” She handed me a paper calendar. “We have designated Warmth Days. See?” I think she tried to smile, but one eyelid just drooped to the side.
Everyone Wants to Go Here
This preschool is THE place to be! No one ever says why. It just is! So I called them. And called them. No response. Finally, I went to the school and rang the doorbell. A woman with a giant jack o’lantern smile plastered on her face popped her head out the door.
“Yes?” she said.
“I was hoping to see the school.”
“No. It would be disruptive to the children.”
“I understand. I can come back when school’s over.”
“We don’t do tours,” she said through grinning teeth. “We had an Open House in January. You really should’ve prioritized your schedule.”
“I didn’t live here in January. We just moved.”
“I’ll tell you what. We’ll take your application and let you know. We need a nonrefundable payment of $100 today.”
She slid a piece of paper to me. She did it with her toe, so she wouldn’t have to relinquish her grip on the door.
I didn’t take it.
“But everyone wants to go here!” she screamed as I drove away.
By the time I’d visited eight places, I only needed to ask two questions of any preschool: “Am I allowed inside?” and “Does anyone here play the lute?”