Ottawa is truly a bilingual city — it borders Quebec, and a large segment of the population speaks both French and English. There are also large portions of the population that speak exclusively French or English. We felt that our lack of language ability was definitely a hurdle to cross in that environment. We found out we were expecting our first child shortly after moving, and quickly moved to Gatineau, an almost exclusively French part of the country.
With all of the unsolicited advice a new parent gets, I would have thought that the sheer panic and guilt over preschool would have been mentioned some place. I still remember all of the friendly warnings about sleepless nights and colicky babies. I have in my possession notes from friends and family with tips on how to calm my fussy newborn, why they prefer cloth diapers to disposables and the best place in the neighborhood to take a “Mommy & Me” yoga class.
Jenny at Let the Children Play has been running a three-part series about Reggio-inspired preschools. This caught my eye for a few reasons: 1) I’d never heard of Reggio-inspired anything, 2) I’m always interested in different kinds of preschools, and 3) some of these are just really amazing to behold.
Then I discovered my dream come true: a cooperative pre-school. A co-op cuts costs by hiring only the teachers; parents perform all other work and take turns as teacher aide. This innovative solution would give the boys the benefits of school and allow me to be involved in my children’s education while also having personal time.
Maybe I am old-fashioned (despite the piercings and tattoos), but I think that by teaching my children manners, even before they fully understand them, that I’m laying groundwork for a future where they show others respect, and are respectable. Whats more, I feel that because my family is unconventional in many ways, that its even more important to observe conventional manners and etiquette.
How did you find the preschool that was right for your family? Is there a super secret password that I need to know?