July 18, 2010

"We're going on a hunt"

Suchitra and I spent our first real week at home together investigating preschools. I say investigating because you really have to try to dig below the surface when visiting these institutions of early childhood education. I get the sense that in Southern California, especially in certain neighborhoods and with certain price tags, many schools appear appealing on the surface. Teachers are teaching, kids are mostly happy, and the learning environment is stimulating.

However, once you dig a little deeper, then the differences in educational philosophy and how kids are actually learning emerge. We visited completely "developmental" schools, where kids ran about most of the day without too much structure (and no doubt having a ball at it). We visited more "academic" schools, one in which 2 year olds were actually expected to sit for 45 minutes and color in a worksheet! Don't ask me what I felt like doing after spending time in that classroom.

And we visited the school that Sameer and I think will be the best fit for Suchitra--a lovely Montessori school with bright classrooms, interesting learning materials, engaged teachers and expansive outdoor play areas. Suchi was completely taken with the school. She took a step into the Montessori classroom, took in the kids working on their individual tasks, and almost ran to the shelves to grab some materials for herself. She was so much more interested in these types of "toys" than in anything at the other schools we visited. I think she also liked how kids were working individually, something I think will be good for her too. She'll certainly have plenty of time for outdoor play, art, music and other good preschool stuff during the rest of the day. But 30-60 minutes a day learning focus and discipline is not a bad use of time in my opinion.

So she starts in September, 2 days a week. Hope I can keep her suitably stimulated until then!

July 7, 2010

San Diego

Lessons learned from our most recent travels:
  1. Suchitra absolutely loves new places and people. Doesn't really matter where, as long as its "outsiiide".

  2. Any trip involving water is bound to be a hit. Or incite a tantrum upon leaving. Probably both.

  3. Ditto for trips involving animals.

  4. Suchitra is more flexible than both her parents when traveling. She'll sleep in strange places as long as we turn on some "sleep sounds" (radio static). She's getting better about long car rides. As for food, she's not a great eater, but definitely less picky than dad or mom.

  5. If baby #2 is anywhere near as a good a traveler as Suchitra, we're set!

July 2, 2010

Stay-at-home child

Today was officially Suchitra's last day at daycare...she might "drop in" now and then over the summer, but otherwise she's staying home with mom for the forseeable future!

I've got some mixed feelings about this change. On the one hand I'm so grateful to have the next 3-4 months alone with my little girl, before super #2 arrives. There are so many art projects, music classes, and bike rides that I've been planning, and now we finally have time for all of them. No more coming home after a full day of work and daycare, everyone (except Suchitra of course) too tired to do anything but eat, bathe and go to sleep. We have all day to play and learn! What more could a teacher want?

On the other hand I already feel sadness on having to leave behind most intellectual pursuits for at least the next year. I've got a few part-time gigs in the works, but nothing compared to the daily immersion in history and politics afforded by an actual classroom.

I also think that Suchitra genuinely enjoys social interaction with other children and adults...as well as the variety in play afforded by a school setting. So I'm looking for part-time care options for her. Hoping to find a well-respected preschool that also offers a toddler program, so she doesn't have to wait until 2 years old to start. It probably won't hurt her to have other adults showing her attention once the baby arrives, either.

In the meantime, we'll enjoy our days together. And I'll switch over some of my "light" bedtime reading to more substantive historical tomes :)