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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Preschool Problem - Part II: The Phone Calls

Fun fact about preschools here: Did you know the registration takes place in January? In January! For the next year. January.

See, my thought was, welp, the school year just ended, guess it's time to call for the next one.

How silly.

Thankfully, since you have to pay for your three year olds to go to school here, there are spaces left in several schools, and the administrators are all about getting their tens of thousands of dollars from me, so they didn't make too much of a fuss about it.

Still, it wasn't a great way to start the phone conversation.

"Hi, I've got twins and I'm looking into enrolling them in some preschool classes."

"Oh. Well, registration was in January, so..." (you're pretty much the laziest worst parent ever. Hahaha at trying to enroll now, you silly know-nothing mom).

"Well, they'll be three in August."

"Oh! Well, let me transfer you then. I think we still have space."

Oh, I see. So, okay, great. They have room for three year olds who are potty trained. That's us. I listen to the hold music.

"Hi, so and so daycare, can I help you?"

"I'm thinking of signing my twins up for preschool. Is this a preschool or a daycare."

"It's both."

"...oh. Well, okay, anyway, they'll be three in August. Do you have classes available."

"Yes, have you taken a tour?"

(No! Am I supposed to take a tour before I call?)

"Um, no, but I'd like to."

"Okay, great. Who else have you called?"

(What? Why is this any of your business?)

"Um, so and so, so and so, and so and so."

"Oh, well, you'll want to come to us. We're better than them."

(I swear to you, they said this. Two of them said this.)

"Okay, well, I'm looking forward to coming in, but first, could you tell me how much you charge for two days and fulltime?"

"...Don't you have any other questions first?"

(No! I do not have any other questions first. Everything is on your website. Please. Please. Please! Tell me how much you cost so I know whether or not I'm wasting everyone's time! Why is this so difficult?)

"Um, okay. What is your curriculum for younger kids?"

"It's on the website."

"Right, I saw that. Thought maybe you'd have something to add. Okay, then. How do you handle disciplining children?"

"It's on our website."

"Right. I saw that, too. Okay. Are you religious or secular?"


"Right, I know. Okay, well, how do you deal with clingers?"

"Well, that's never as much as an issue as the parent thinks it will be. The kids love it here. They won't want to come home afterward. I wouldn't even worry about it."

(Oh. Well, that was helpful. Not.)

"Okay, so how much does it cost, two days versus full ime."

"Well, it's $3,000 for two days a week. $7,000 for full time."

"Okay, thanks."

Pregnant pause.

"Don't you have any other questions?"

(Shit, I'm supposed have more questions? What am I supposed to be asking here? I really need to see the place before I get specific with my questions. Am I the worst, most uncaring mom ever, or what?)

"Well, not right now. I'd like to come in for a tour, if that's possible."

"Okay, call us next week to set up."

"Well, can't we set up now?"

"Well, we could...but I'm sure you want to call other schools first to check out your options."

(Goddamn it, no. I just want to set up a tour, please. I'd prefer you not dictate my phoning for me. Also, didn't you ask if I'd taken a tour already? This is so confusing.)

"Uh, okay. I'll do that."

So, I guess you could say I'm having an interesting experience with this preschool thing so far.

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  1. Any places that automatically bad mouth other places I tend to have less respect for. It isn't a competition and insulting the other school isn't going to help me think you'll be a great role model for my child.

  2. Ouch. I'm glad my experience wasn't like that. I called a week before school started. The one I wanted her to go to wasn't doing preschool. The one before that was full and I found one, asked how much it was for preschool, went in got the paper work and did all that running (shot records fun) and had it to them the next day, she started the next week. For my youngest since it was the same school I registered her before summer break. They are actually just starting their enrollment now at this school. Thankfully!

  3. Geez, why are the preschools in your area so snobby? It's not like you're trying to get your kids into an elite invite-only horseback riding sorority.

  4. Wow. I've been the person on the other end of the phone (at the school) and I'm kind of surprised that a) they were badmouthing other schools and b) that they gave their prices over the phone. Most places won't give you their prices EXCEPT in writing so that there are no surprises down the road.

  5. I did the same thing when enrolling our oldest for preschool. I had no idea registration was in January and we just got lucky that they had an opening. I wanted to sign her up on the phone and got the "don't you want to tour first?" I was so clueless.

  6. Any preschool that doesn't have an email address/web form for me to fill out goes on the back burner...I haaaaaaaaaaate phone calls, too. Thankfully most of the preschools out here have their prices clearly listed on their website, so that's one thing I don't have to deal with.

  7. Wow, were they all like that? That's ridiculous. At my daycare we enrolled all the time, and we sure as hell didn't make parents feel like crap if they didn't enroll by January...especially if there were spots available! You shouldn't have to set up a tour. Just go in. If they tell you that you can't tour right then and you have to come back, run far away. Classrooms be ready for parents at any time, and directors should be available to give tours at all hours. Well, except for naptime, because you won't see anyone in action and you could disturb the kids ;)

  8. No, to be fair, this is a mish mash of all the conversations I had, most of the gems coming from one particular school (the school now has a waiting list, so either I dodged a bullet or they really are so spectacular they can afford the attitudes...I guess we'll never know.)

    I didn't even think about the tour thing in terms of readily viewable as-is classrooms. That's a good point.

  9. seriously had these SAME phonecalls today... i am not lying. ridiculous prices, attitudes and waiting lists!
    i am fairly sure that the future lifelong success of my son will not depend on his preschool experience. i mean, i understand good foundations, blah blah blah, but i think i can have him reading by next month and maybe i can drop him off at the city park for some socialization.... kidding (sorta).
    ugh- good luck to us both.

  10. Wow that's an impressive piece self perpetuated demand. I didn't actually read any other comments so I'm very sorry if this is repeated but you ARE the parent, you ARE in charge, you ARE doing this because your kids are ready NOW and don't let yourself be bullied into buying their 'we're in control of this' BS. They are not, in fact, in control as they would like to think. And if they really try to push it then you probably don't want your kids there anyway.

  11. I called a pre-school for my twins. They have an opening in August 2013. Would I like to be put on the waiting list?

    When I was pregnant, I would read these stories and chuckle. Now I realize it was they laughing at me.

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