Wasn’t it obvious? I was talking about preschool.
Here in Park Slope, mecca of babyhood, toddlerhood, and childhood, applying to preschool and kindergarten is almost more insane than college applications. (For example, one school has a Monday morning first-come first-served process… for which parents get in line at 4 and 5 am. When the doors don’t open until 9. In February.) For months now my friends and I have been talking about preschool. Where would each of us choose to apply? Should we just scrap the whole thing and start our own co-op with each other? How do you afford preschool in the first place–especially because you often still need a babysitter to pick the kids up?
A while back, my husband and I had made a decision: we wanted to send our daughter to a Jewish preschool. Specifically, we really wanted her to go to the preschool at the synagogue where we are members. There’s a few reasons that go into this for me: first, I figure that if I’m paying for school, I want it to have the same values that I do. I plan to send Abigail to public school once she gets to kindergarten, so our preschool dollars should at least get us some Jewish values, holidays, and all that jazz. Second, I believe in the power of community. We’ve been going to tot Shabbat at our synagogue for a long time now, and Abigail loves it. We love it too. And seeing the same faces each week, knowing the songs, hanging out with friends–all of that adds up to creating a commitment to community and a love for Judaism.
So we applied. And I debated whether we should apply to a back-up school or two… but I knew it would just be a back-up school. Not a place we really wanted her to go. So we decided to skip it, and just apply to our first choice. The past few months I’ve been sitting on pins and needles, hoping it would work out. And of course the letters came out while we were away on vacation…
But she got in. And I dropped off the deposit, and though we’re a lot of dollars poorer, I know my daughter will be so much the richer for having gone to this Jewish preschool. So tonight’s blessing, when we do “Shabbat-time,” will be for Abigail’s school years to be filled with the same sense of excitement and wonder that she brings to everything she does at 2.5-years-old. Shabbat shalom!