The two-hour preschool interview

Apparently you gotta interview to get into preschool these days. When I say you, I don’t mean the preschooler, I mean you – the parents. Yes, tomorrow afternoon Jody and I are scheduled for a two-hour interview with Ava’s preschool teacher – without Ava. Two hours! That’s longer than any job interview I’ve ever had.

We decided to enroll Ava in a two morning/week Waldorf-inspired in-home preschool for the fall. She craves the socialization and I think she is more than ready for it. We have a few friends who have children in this program and they just love it. We’ve visited with the teacher twice now and went to see a class in session and feel it’s a good match for us and Ava. It’s a mix of ages (2-5) and there are a maximum of six children in the “class.” I love the Waldorf emphasis on natural toys and imaginative play. I also like that it’s spiritual, but not based on any particular religion. Another plus is that it’s literally about 4 blocks from our house so easily within walking distance. :)

I’m not exactly sure what is in store for us with during the two hours tomorrow, but I do know it’s a chance for the teacher to learn more about Ava. I’m sure it will be a good thing, it just seems awfully long.

I must admit I’m a little nervous about the Waldorf stance on TV watching (Waldorf kindergartens and lower grades discourage exposure to media influences such as television, computers and recorded music, as they believe these to be harmful to cognitive development) since Ava does watch TV (PBS shows) pretty much every weekday. It’s the only way I’ve figured out to make sure she stays occupied while I put Julian down for his naps. I understand why they discourage it and, in a perfect world, I would too, but I think the phrase “everything in moderation” could apply here too. (shrug)

I guess we’ll see if mommy gets into trouble before Ava even has her first day. ;) Wish me luck.

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20 thoughts on “The two-hour preschool interview

  1. My sister is a Waldorf school teacher!!! She teaches at a public charter school with Waldorf instruction down in Orange County and she loves it. I do love the philosophy around it, and wish there was a charter school near us. Even the private school is too far away and it costs $1000 per month in tuition!!!

    I agree with you about the moderation in TV etc. Aidan watches PBS shows too and I think they’re alright! He gets story time and play time both indoors and out and he’s with his mommy and daddy. Bottom line is that he’s happy and well adjusted and I’m wary of hard-c0re adherence to ANY philosophy (AP included).

  2. Good luck! I found the whole preschool selection thing nerve wracking! It didn’t help that I came into it with really set ideas of what I wanted and some of the directors and teachers disagreed with me. I hate conflict and so I hated that feeling that we really weren’t on the same page. And this is my *baby* we’re talking about here so it was really emotional! BUT – it was all good when we found the right school because it felt so much better. PS is such a great experience for kids when they’re in the right place!!

    That said, 2 hrs?? Wow. Where do you leave your kid for 2 hrs before you have PS to leave them at!? (It’s a rhetorical question – no need to answer!)

  3. Maybe it’s just a 2-hour time block, but won’t take quite that long. I think it’s weird that she isn’t supposed to be there. I’ve never had that happen before? I dunno. Good Luck!

    Oh and you are tagged!

  4. Glad to hear you found a good fit. We were going to do Montessori, similar to Waldorf . I think Montessori even had rules that I didn’t agree with – like no babywearing! Gasp, can you imagine (the point is that babies need to be able to get in and out of things on their own without assistance, like floor beds instead of cribs, weaning tables instead of high chairs, etc, definitely not a sling). So I decided we’ll just have to take what we could and hope we didn’t get in trouble either ;)

    But now we’ll be homeschooling so I will wear all the slings I want! :) Can’t wait to hear how Waldorf goes, I’ve heard great things about the teaching philosophy.

  5. Wow…that does seem like a long time, but maybe it is more so that she gets to know you guys as parents, and what your parenting styles are, what you allow, don’t allow, etc. Maybe she wants to make sure all the children there are a good fit, so she doesn’t take someone on whose family/parenting styles don’t fit in w/ everyone else, so it seems like it could be a good thing. :-)

    Hope it goes well.

  6. Woo -2 hours is way long. I guess it’s to help them to get to know you and vice versa.

    We don’t own a TV so that’s not an issues here, but Tim does have DVDs for the computer. I must say I really don’t like it how he will easily watch Thomas over and over. And over. And over. All afternoon if I’d let him. Fortunately his other play demonstrates to me that his brain is suitably imaginative so I think it is okay in moderation.

  7. Wow 2 hours! I can’t even still stil for more then 15 min, I wouldn’t be able to do it LOL (I would show how wiggely our daughter would be in class ~ she can’t sit still either~ can we say that we are overactive, no just say we love to move)

    The school sound interresting! We plan to homeschool, I remember being in school (I was always a honnor student) but found school boring cause we were not alowed to move! telling you too much energy! so I think a home school where you burn the energy in the morning to study in the afternoon would be the best for us!

    Thanks for the post, let us know how it whent

  8. When I signed on to place my children in Montessori, you must truly subscribe to the philosophy for it to truly work, hence the school wants to see if it’s a match for the whole gang. I remember being interviewed, watching a long video and actually seeing a class in action…all without my child – then was invited to have my daughtter visit and THEN was offered a spot.

    Since it’s a private setting, they can see if you jive with the whole philosophy or not – it’s really a good thing, not a snobbish thing. I chose Montessori over Waldorf for many reasons, but I think it’s the same in relation to family adapting to the philosophy at home for it to work.
    We are now in a Montessori school until the girls reach 9th grade. We have to carry the flow of what they are doing there…peace education, the love of learning and exploring using rich materials AND heavy volunteer emphasis for our local community.
    Everything I do at home, they can join in with – even when they were tiny they were helping me to cook, setting the table for example.
    My kids watch tv, have a barbie and have been to Disney world….but we still feel like our school lets us be “us” while still instilling the profound educational Montessori philosophy in our lives. I think the visit will be wonderful for you and it’s for you just as much as it’s for the school…have a great time!

  9. I am still on the fence about preschool. Part of me so never wants to let her go, the other part of me can’t wait to! I wouldn’t mind some alone time with the baby mind you.

    2 hours does seem like an intense interview. Good luck!

  10. We have our home visit tomorrow from Will’s Waldorf-inspired preschool–it is actually pretty neat, the teachers come and visit him on his own turf before school starts. But in my house! Eeek!

  11. We just had out home visit from Liam’s teacher, and it was fun. I can’t wait to hear how your interview went.

    As for the TV, they’ll discourage it, but it really depends on the media policy of the individual school. Ours is along the lines of “if you must have media, please contain it to weekends.”

  12. mia went to waldorf for a month. let me know how the interview goes….

    it’s amazingly interesting and i think if you find a good waldorf you are gonna be psyched. the rooms are so magical and whimsical. all the peach and the silk….heavenly. fresh baked bread in the air. yum. the one here was not a match for us, unfortunately. but i think it was this particular school, not waldorf in general.

    one thing i did notice when i would sit in on class was at lunch when the kids would start talking about movies they watched ( so most kids in there DID watch movies or tv) the teacher would just tell them that was not for ‘school conversation’. and that was it. it is a school heavy in dogma and also spiritual practice, which is fine, but they do not explain the spiritual practice to parents at all unless you dig and ask. i personally found Steiner’s spiritual reasonings for creating Waldorf the way he did intriguing and my husband and i are pretty out there in spiritual thought so it was cool to learn, but i know a lot of people who are not into the reincarnation theory and the whole limiting the art supply thing, etc..etc.. it’s a good thing to read as much as you can about it and make your own decisions based on intuition and information.

    and about the interview…that was the one thing that i really did not like. i did feel that even though i was paying and INSANE amount of money to send Mia there, they were testing us…to see if we ‘fit in’. i felt nervous, like was a kid again in a new school. and i think my nervousness about wanting to fit in rubbed off on Mia.

    but all in all, i think their ideas are rock and i hope you all love it. let me know how it goes.

  13. Um, I was right there with you puzzling about the TV and the 2-hour interview at this time last year (see http://chezartz.com/?p=28). It really does take two hours and in the end, I was glad I got that time to get to know Ginger. She’s great and is now practically part of the family. You and Ava will love her preschool!

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  15. I really identify with the principles of Waldorf. I’m even starting to understand their views on fairies and gnomes. I’d love to hear your opinion on that and how it’s incorporated into the class. I always thought it was just about using your imagination but apparantly hard core Waldorf educators believe that they are real. I’m not sure how I’ll handle this subject when it comes up.

    I totally believe in no tv! But I only have one child. There is gobs of research to show how harmful it is—-even “educational” shows. But my SIL is in the same predicament as you—what can she do with her 3 year old when the 9 month old needs to be put down for a nap. I think I’ll stick to one kid to avoid the issue—ha!

  16. I am looking for a Waldorf-inspired/attachment parenting type preschool in Orange County.
    My daughter and I are just moving to the area and it will be a huge transition for both of us. I need a gentle atmosphere for her, as she is sensitive and (very)attached. Unfortunately, I don’t have long to stay with her in class until she can adjust as I will have to start school- my mom will be taking her after a couple of weeks or so.
    Is it too late to get her into a program? Any suggestions for a program for a shy/attached/sensitive 3 year old near Huntington Beach?

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