I am prone to falling in love with my children's preschools. Marley's new preschool is different from the other two we've done, in that it's a co-op, which means that a few times a month I go with her to work in the classroom.
School is held in a tiny cottage at a local park. There's only one class and the kids range in age from 3-5. It's a very relaxed, positive environment, where the kids can pretty much choose what they want to do, and the parents and teachers are there to guide and support them. Not at all the way we do things in our house, so it's a refreshing change of pace for me, and I'm sure for Marley too. Amazing how patient you can be when you're not the one mopping the floors;).
My favorite part is that most of the families at the school have lived here for generations, and they know the city like the back of their hands. We're not supposed to talk to each other while we're working so that we can focus on the kids (I've been shooshed a time or two), but every chance I get, I grill the other parents about where they live, what they do, favorite restaurants, etc.
The teachers are patient, kind and truly love their work. They don't spout their philosophies, but quietly lead by example, and it's easy to see the sense in the way they interact with the kids.
My favorite part of the day is sharing time, when one child gets to show the class a few things they brought from home. The teachers ask the most respectful, genuine questions. Is there anything better than someone asking you a respectful, genuine question and then listening to your answer?
P.S.- Remember how I said I was going to 'do something'? Well I did- I attended a city council meeting and made a comment during the open forum. I was not alone- there were dozens of mothers, fathers and concerned citizens there, some with kids in tow. Eric was at home with our kids watching on TV. Here's link to an NYT article that gives an overview of what all the fuss is about. But the real issues are very complex, and it will be interesting to see how things work out. We're participating in a march to city hall tomorrow night, so wish us luck!