It's time to think about Lucy's school. Notice: no quotes around school. This time, we are talking about real school, and where Lucy will go after she graduates from St. Luke's. Technically, it could be another daycare-like place and not school, per se. But when I saw a bunch of three-year-olds discussing what languages are spoken in Canada, I could only think of it as SCHOOL. And when I thought of how far behind Lu would be if we let her little brain languish amid daycare activites such as "storytime" and "playing," I knew it had to be school. There will be no playing. There will be only learning.
So we have decided to go with a little Montessori school in North Austin run by some nice Indian women. Not the actual school where the Canada lesson was going on, but a smaller, somewhat more relaxed place where the three-year-olds were having music class. Everyone at the school greeted Lucy warmly, and she confidently wandered into whatever activities were underway. They gave her animal cookies and a juice box. She kept saying "kids! kids!" We loved it, and we gave them some money to hold her spot for June.
I know it's just daycare/school/a safe place for her to spend her days, but it feels like a huge decision. One that will set the course of her academic and professional future. There's the issue of Montessori: maybe it's too rigid and academic for toddlers or very independent children? She may be expelled within a week (like Ben Cohen, Montessori drop-out and legendary misbehaver)! I have also heard that Montessori fosters so much self-directed learning that moving to more traditional settings can be hard (like Karen Longshore, Montessori graduate, wackily un-traditional).
Those arguments aside, the appeal of Montessori is the smarty-pants factor. I can't deny it — I want her brain to be big. Or at least give her as many opportunities as I can to grow it. Within reason, of course. My friend Pam, whose twin daughters will also be going to this school, told me she'd heard that the other place (three-year-olds and geography) makes you sign a contract that you won't let your child watch TV. Uh...no. This reinforces my deep fear that TV is making the baby stupid, but I would gladly sacrifice a few academic accomplishments for the peace that only Elmo brings. So we are going to the kinder, gentler Montessori school. And anyway, it's English and French. Duh.