Millie is going to preschool this year. We didn’t think she was going to get a preschool experience like the others did because of the monthly tuition for the program. However, when we moved into a new school district, we heard great things about the public school preschool and so I called about it. Unfortunately, even with the reduced rate we qualified for, it was out of reach for this year.
Just as I was about to hang up the phone on the idea of preschool for Millie, the lady mentioned another option for us. They have a program billed as their “reverse mainstream” program, whereby they ask parents of “typical” kids to consider enrolling their children in a classroom of special needs kids. This program, because of the need to encourage the “typical” families to enroll, has a one-time supply charge of only $25, with no tuition required. Currently there are four typical kids and two special needs kids enrolled, along with three teachers. That’s some pretty good adult-child ratio.
Because this program is technically designed for the special needs kids, it is run through the Special School District of St. Louis; thus, while financially free, enrolling Millie wasn’t without cost. First I had to take her in for a screening to make sure she qualified as a “typical” kid. She passed. Check. We then walked home with a stack of forms to fill out, which took me about two hours (no kidding). I think there were more forms than usual because of the nature of the program. I’m a box checker, i-dotter, and t-crosser, and still I grew weary of filling in our emergency contact information and whether or not we can do handstands in our sleep. When I got to the last form, I saw it was a physical form, meaning I had to then schedule a doctor’s appointment for Millie. Fun and games all around.
After taking Millie to the doctor today, we went to Sears to get Maddie’s glasses repaired. While there, the optical sales lady mentioned a new law for Missouri and Illinois (and somewhere else I can’t remember) in which all Kindergarteners and 1st graders are required to show proof of an official eye exam for entry into the public school programs this year. Wow – more hoops to jump through. Don’t the kids still get their vision and hearing screened during school time? Back when I was a kid…oh, well…I guess everything changes. Still, that seems a bit excessive to me. My kids get their vision and hearing checked at every well-child check they go to (and they go every year). We take them to the eye doctor when they begin showing signs of needing a check-up (as prescribed by their pediatrician during said vision screening during the well-child check). Is this not standard anymore?
Anyway, this isn’t meant as a judgment on anyone or any system. It’s just an honest-to-goodness sigh of relief that I only had one child to jump through system hoops this year. We’re glad she gets to have a fun preschool experience this year, but we’re just as glad her education will return to our home next year.
If anyone is keeping track, we’ve yet to have a child complete a full year of preschool. Maybe Millie will have the distinction of being the first person in our family to graduate preschool. That would actually be funny.