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Cognitive Dissonance And Pre-School: Part One

Recently, I learned a bit about cognitive dissonance and self-justification, and I could go on for many, many posts about examples of both in my life, but here I focus on pre-school.

Did you, or did you not, write recently about your child's first birthday?  
Do you, or do you not, still refer to your child as "Baby" on this blog?

Yes, I did.  
And, for as long as I can, yes, I do.

But I live in New York, and pre-school is a Thing here.  It is exciting and wonderful, but it also requires research, tours, applications, at least one (albeit very brief) expository writing sample, and a deep, deep reserve of patience.

Here is the dissonance:

I have an image of myself as a woman who speaks truth to power, who is more artist than pragmatist, who thinks that she is above any competitive aspect of New York Parenthood.

Yet here I am: an attorney who represents the powerful more often than those most in need, who has not gone to a dance class since I was pregnant, and who found herself falling in love with a preschool where, by mid-December, 185 families had already submitted applications for approximately twenty-five spots.

I have been on four tours so far.  

My first tour was at PreSchool ABC, and I loved it.  It is welcoming; the teachers have been there for a very long time; it is in a nearby neighborhood; it follows a certain school of thought about kids learning best when they choose their activities.  I submitted an application because even though my chances are absolutely tiny, there would be no chance that Baby could attend if I had not submitted an application.

My second tour was at PreSchool RAD, and I really liked it... But it bears noting that about fifteen minutes after I started the tour, I couldn't help but think that the head of the school is the type of adult who uses the word "rad."  Thirty minutes later, she proved me right.  

My third tour was at PreSchool BK, and I did not like it.  It is not conveniently located; the facilities are very small; they have no outdoor space; they staff classrooms using the minimum number required by the Department of Health; they combine 2s and 3s in one class.  These things are all fine... but not worth it to me.

My fourth tour was at PreSchool LUV, and I liked it.  It helps that I was, by chance, on the tour with a mom and dad that I already know and like from the neighborhood.  It also really helps that the school is around the corner from my apartment.  The head of the school seems loving and thoughtful.  Oh . . . and, relevant or not to the early education of Baby, she had me at "I moved to New York when I went to NYU to get my Ph.D. in dance . . ."  

Where will Baby go?  Still unclear.  The competitive schools with limited spots will let me know in early March how Baby fits onto the waiting list.  The uber-competitive schools that require interviews of babies were already done accepting applications by the time I started looking, so at least there will be no outright rejections.  Except for maybe one.  There is one awesome school that is starting a 2s program soon . . . there may be an interview; I may subject Baby to the experience; and we may be rejected.   

To be continued . . . 


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