I have been on a six month saga to get my daughter into a preschool.
The local programs are state funded by this really cool preschool for all grant. The thing is, there are risk factors. If there is low competition for spots, financial risk can get you in. It makes sense, because a child that grows up in a financially unstable is at higher risk for mental illness, among other things.
We are actually very lucky, because only having financial instability (without other risk factors) and being hyper-aware that can be a problem, I make it a point not to stress out around my kids or get them stressed out or tell them they’re poor or make them feel like they can’t have something because it’s too expensive.
I might not be able to enroll her in dance class right now, but I can make certain I’m not complaining about not being able to in front of her. It’s the little things.
Come talk to me in twenty years, though, because who knows where my butterfly wing best intentions will be then. Of course if I can just make sure she has a good head for business she can be a drug lord. That would be something, and maybe I could help her with her offshore accounts. Family bonding time and whatnot.
But there were fifty kids trying to get into 25 spots in this school. If they’re all poor (or if more than 25 are) then they have to look for additional risk factors. Namely, they give the kids a test and you have to score low but not too low. Things are weighted based on factors I couldn’t figure out and I got a lovely letter in the mail.
Thank you for your participation in the recent preschool screening at The School. Multiple areas of development are assessed during the screening: speech and language, cognitive skills, fine and gross motor skills, and social skills. At-risk factors are also considered in determining eligibility for the preschool program.
We are happy to share that your child’s performance indicates that development in all areas is appropriate for your child’s age group at this time. For that reason, your child does not meet the criteria for our program.
They were ever-so-kind and enclosed a preschool directory for my convenience in finding a program that was not funded by a grant for children who need a little extra help.
I have to tell you, however, the letter I wrote was a stunner.
Which makes me pause and really wonder how many children are under-performing for age level (I know, math whizzes, at least 25). I was sure that based on the criteria my daughter would get in.
Don’t think I’m being totally ungrateful, here. I’m happy my daughter is doing well for her age. In fact, I specifically asked if being gifted could be considered a developmental risk and they said it was not under the terms of the grant. I understood and I swear I was totally super polite through the whole thing. I could only do what I could do, which is my best to make sure I’ve covered all the bases I can.
I looked at some websites from the local preschools and, unfortunately, they’re all just too expensive.
I still have my fabulous workbook I purchased from good old Amazon.com and will go through it with her when her sisters are in school. I also have this old copy of My Baby Can Read that I can play for her. If they’re going to leave her with me, I’m going to do my best to educate her at home.
Maybe it was because I mentioned in the letter that our situation is only temporary. Of course, no one wants to read about a chronically impoverished family that doesn’t ever make steps to improve. It’s imperative if you want people to be understanding and not judgmental to learn to put yourself forward as someone who is only temporarily displaced from the middle class.
Even before Mr. Brickie changed careers and we had no hope in hell of being able to better our life circumstances I found something to cling to so when I needed help I sounded like someone that was going to be on the upswing soon.
I probably sounded like a con artist.
Or maybe I’ve never been quite as bad off as I’ve thought.
An interesting conundrum. I guess it all depends on who you compare yourself to. Who do you compare yourself to?