As most of you know G attends two preschools, for the purposes of this discussion let's call them PS1 and PS2...PS2 focuses on children with developmental delays, such as her speech delay and PS1 is a very popular preschool for typical children (children without delays although they do not exclude them) in a nearby suburb. PS1 is lauded by nearly everyone with a preschool age child within 5o miles of it. PS2 I hadn't actually heard much about at all, what I knew of it was that it wasn't in the best neighborhood but that it had an extremely diverse student and teacher population which is something that I have high regard for. PS1 on the other hand seems to have mostly white students and I've only seen white female teachers although there could be others that I haven't gotten a glimpse of yet.
We are white and we live about 5 minutes from our city's downtown. Our city has huge Hispanic, Somali, and Asian populations and I want G to know about other people, other cultures, other types of food, other everything. I want her to play side by side with black kids. I want her to share her dolls with kids in wheelchairs. I need her to do those things. As a kid growing up I was often the only white girl around and I never felt uncomfortable. I want her to feel the same way, never excluded but always included. I never want to see her exclude anyone either because they don't have the same blond hair or green eyes that she has...these things are unbelievably important to me.
We had assumed that both preschools would be good experiences for G, would give me a little break since I'm always with her, and would be nice segues into actual school school when that time arrives. But...and this is a big but...G seems to prefer PS2 over PS1. She actually gets excited when we pull into the parking lot, she says school over and over again, she even runs into the building while dragging me behind. PS1 is a totally different story, she seems to dread it which in turn has caused me to dread it. She's cried every single time she's been at PS1, guess how many times she's cried at PS2? Go ahead, guess...that's right, NOT A SINGLE TIME! How do I know this with certainty? Well PS2 has observation rooms for every single classroom, the gym, etc...so I've stayed and watched her and she's perfectly happy. Now don't get me wrong here, I don't think every school needs to have observation rooms but it's quite nice. PS1 certainly allows you to stay as long as you'd like and I'm sure (because her classroom has sliding glass doors for walls) that I could sneak out and observe and I'll give you that I have not done that but there is still something going on.
What's the difference? I wonder if it's because she's in AM classes at PS1 and she hasn't really been sleeping well. I wonder if it's that there are 2 more kids in PS1 than there are at PS2. I wonder if it's her teachers, they seem aloof, a bit put off by the speech delay. I often wonder if it's the age of her teachers. I want to love it. I really want to love it. I want to love it so that I fit in with my friends who LOVE it...so that G fits in with their kids who LOVE it. Everyone that I know loves PS1...it has a sort of cult following. I feel so good when I say she goes to PS1 and not so good when I say she goes to PS2, proud really of her attendance at PS1. What is the difference? I'm at a loss.