Sunday, February 25, 2007

They want to know WHAT?

One of the communities we're considering moving to near Cleveland has several all-girls private schools that offer preschool programs, and I've just spent the last half an hour trying to find any hint of how many thousands of dollars a year such a program might cost. I shudder to think ... but thinking is all I'm going to be doing right now, because the web sites have zero information about the actual tuition. It's too gauche to actually publish a pricetag for your daughter's education, I guess, or perhaps it's a case of "if you have to ask, you can't afford it."

At any rate, I was reading through the admissions applications for these schools, and it was an eye-opener, let me tell you, or at least the one for Laurel was. As far as I can tell, they have one application form, no matter which grade you're applying to enter. That's fine as far as it goes, but at what point does it become inappropriate to ask the age at which the child mastered daytime bladder control? Bowel control? Age at which the child spoke her first meaningful word? Sat up? Walked independently?

Because if I'm trying to get my kid into private school for, say, 10th grade, how likely am I to remember the exact age at which she learned not to crap in her pants? And do I want that information floating around on a piece of paper at her new school? That's all I'm saying.

Plus, now I'm insecure that Liza's developmental delays last year are going to actually affect her future schooling possibilities. You know how when you're in school and you do something bad, the teacher threatens to put it on your permanent record? Like there's actually a manila folder somewhere with a piece of paper that details how I smarted off to my sixth grade teacher when she asked me to spit out my gum when we were on a field trip to a museum, and I asked her if I should just stick it to the exhibit, since there weren't any trashcans handy. Is Liza's manila folder going to include a sheet of paper that describes her not being able to roll herself over by her first birthday? Will she have a leg up on other applicants because she learned to hop a couple months sooner than average? Will the early cursing be a sign of exceptional language skills, or exceptional delinquency? Where's the space on the form to tell them that she can get all 12 of the little plastic shapes into the annoying Fisher Price shape sorter ball, and she's not even 2? I must have missed the part where I tell them how when we drove past the park today and she got upset, I explained that we had to run an errand and we'd come back in a few minutes, and she stopped crying and waited to go on the swings, and then she was a perfect angel through dinner at a restaurant, and she didn't touch anything at the Cracker Barrel store when I let her browse for a few minutes as a reward for good behavior. I must have overlooked that bubble on the form.

Of course, the application was 16 pages long, so maybe I just overlooked it. Compare that to the admission form for her current program, which was pretty much:
Has your child ever killed anyone? Yes/No If yes, explain:
Do you have $55 a month?
When can you start?

Yep, it's a different world up there, all right.


Anonymous said...

Yes, there is a page in the permanent folder for this sort of stuff. It is pretty standard stuff for kindergarten admission, and stays with the kids through elementary school. The good news is that it isn't much looked at after kindergarten. After that, it is looked at for hints at causes of outrageous behavior or lack of development.
Relax and remember that some of our greatest acheivers were different at one time or another!
PS: at this stage you want a playschool for Liza and not an academic program:)

Anonymous said...

i LOVE your version of Liza's present day school's application!!! too funny. =)

Anonymous said...

Better start taking notes for the college applications!