I got an interesting call last week. Someone from our elementary school called to get my thoughts on a whole-day kindergarten option.
Right now our school district only offers half-day kindergarten, either morning or afternoon. This is a big commitment for the family chauffeur (in our case, that’s moi) because the buses do not run at mid-day, so when you have a child in kindergarten, you have to drop them off (for afternoon kindergarten) or pick them up (for morning kindergarten) right smack-dab in the middle of your day. This has a way of complicating matters when you want to meet a friend for lunch or spend the day at the mall — important things.
We moved here when my son was in kindergarten, and I was horrified to learn of the half-day-only program. I was moving 45 minutes away from my social life, which was significant at the time, (my, how times have changed) and I had been planning on visiting my old friends during the day when my son was in school.
Unlike preschool, where they have childcare available after school hours, the public kindergarten offers no such perks (unless you register for the daycare program, which requires more of a commitment than I need). So basically, I was living on a pretty short leash that year.
What I’m trying to say, in my charming roundabout sort of way, is that if I had been offered a full-day kindergarten option at that time in my life, I would have been all over it.
So when I received the call last week asking if I might be interested in a full-day kindergarten option for my 5-year-old daughter next year, I jumped on it with both feet. Right?
I chuckled and told the lady my story. And I concluded that, ironically, now I am not so interested in this possibility.
Is sticking close to home so that I can pick up my daughter at 11:15 every day going to be inconvenient? You bet. But am I willing to put her in school until 3:00 every day so that I can have my freedom? Nope. Not anymore.
My reasons are two-fold. For one thing, my daughter is not like my son was at this age. I think he would have handled full-day kindergarten just fine, although we did enjoy our lazy schedule that year. (He went to afternoon kindergarten, and my girls were not in school at all, so we were able to sleep in and hang out until I drove him to school at 12:30 every day.)
My daughter is not wired the same way. She currently attends preschool five mornings a week, and I think it’s too much for her. Many days she asks to stay home. I regret putting her in all five days and probably won’t make that same choice when it’s time to enroll my youngest daughter in preschool.
But also. When my son was five, I didn’t yet fully grasp the concept of how fast they grow up. As my son heads to third grade next year (*faints*) and my youngest daughter bids farewell to the terrific twos (they really aren’t so terrible!) and my oldest daughter heads off to kindergarten (GAH!!), I am simply not ready to part with her all day, every day. So half-day kindergarten it is for us.
Fortunately, this time around, I know several neighborhood moms who have children going to kindergarten next year, who hopefully will be able to help me out if I need care for my daughter after school on occasion. But for the most part, I won’t be running around as much as I do now. I will definitely miss the after-school-care that the preschool offers. It’s on an as-needed basis, which is SO convenient for me. But all good things must come to an end, as they say. The all-powerful, all-knowing they.
Perhaps I’ll get more housework done when I’m home more often. Bwaaahaaahaaaa…