So here we were, in the thick of it. Searching for a preschool had turned into a part-time job.
Being the super-anal, comprehensive preschool investigator that I was, we had applied to a wide variety of schools. We had flexibility on number of days and hours we needed our daughter in school, so we applied to all types of programs – everything from pure half-day preschools to public schools to full-day-five-day-a-week all the way through high school schools. I could still hear that woman from the gym say that her friend’s son didn’t get into any schools on their “wish list” and I didn’t want to take any chances.
We went to school fairs, filled out all kinds of applications, took tours, attended coffees, sat through presentations and participated in interviews. We took our two year old to “play parties” and left her alone in a room with strangers to play (for us, a first!). We answered questions like: Please share your child’s academic strengths and weaknesses (hmmmmm…she’s two). What are the three most compelling characteristics of your child (compelling?)? List any activities, hobbies and interests of your child (excuse me, did you just say hobbies?). How does your child handle frustration (how do most two year olds handle frustration?)? What method of discipline is your child accustomed to (can this ever sound good – parent or child?)?
Well, we did our best.
The good news is we discovered there are a lot of solid preschool options in Chicago. Still…well into our process, we had found a lot of good possibilities but we still hadn’t found our “dream” place. And truthfully, we were still unclear about what the “right” fit would be. All the schools seemed so different – and yet they all sounded the same too.
Towards the tail end of our application process – a bit exhausted from the whole thing – we were on our way to our final parent night. On the way there, I remember complaining to my husband, “Should we even go to this? I’m sooo tired of this process. If we get into that school that goes all the way through high school – we’re done. Right? I can’t imagine going through all of this again.”
And then we parked and found ourselves in front of a charming greystone row house on Pine Grove Street. We rang the doorbell, were greeted with a gigantic warm smile, stepped inside, and fell in love.
About the Author: Anny Gary is a happily married proud mama to two girls – ages 8 and 5 – who keep her running all over town to school, dance, gymnastics, theater, swimming, art classes and social activities. She serves on a variety of boards with several leadership positions. In her spare time, she works as an independent consultant with an emphasis on marketing and management. Oh, and she loves to write.