Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Life's long waiting list

Sometimes city living feels like being stuck in one long queue. I saw an item on the news the other night about (crazy, insane) parents camping outside a preschool ALL NIGHT in order to secure their child a place. So that got me to thinking: my son is two and a half, perhaps I should make some enquiries about preschools in our area. For 2009 or 2010.
And that is what I have been doing this afternoon...
I don't think I was quite prepared for the woman at the childcare centre near us (on whose list we have been since 2005 with not a single call) to laugh openly at me. "Good luck with that," she said.
Now I'm a tad concerned.
You see, I had a heck of a time finding E a daycare place. Much stress involved. I put his 'name' down when I was 4 months pregnant and we finally got a place when he was nearly one. So that was the first year and a half of waiting and wondering.
And now this.
I've touched base with three or four places today and I'm planning to hit them all in the next couple of weeks. I would have thought preschool places would be easier to find. After all, isn't that roughly the age that mums are having second and third babies and pulling toddlers out because they can't afford the place? Isn't it easier to get a place when the carer-to-kid ratio goes up? Don't most people just send their kids to preschool a couple of days a week instead of needing full five-day coverage?
Hmmm. Clearly I have no idea.
I'm not planning to send E to school until he's five and half. Four and a half just seems too little. Family Day Care, where he is now, is brilliant ... but I suspect he may need more stimulation and organised activities as he gets older.
I thought there was a governmental push to get all kids into preschool ... not so easy if there aren't the places. Then again, would it really matter if he didn't attend preschool at all? I know I'd like him to.
Oh well, I guess I'll just have to wait...


Juliette said...

Anisha is 4 and half now, I will be sending her to school next year.
I agree with you, 5 and half is a better age to start school.
Where i live in Hornsby its a town of hi-rise unit/apartment blocks with lots of families.
This area hasn't increased the school places, though there are a heck of a lot of childcare centres!!!

Kim said...

The rule is that the day your child turns 2 you visit all the pre-schools and hand in the application forms you had already rung and requested from them in the months beforehand.

It's just this rule is a closely guarded secret by those mothers who sit there and talk up their child's ability from the minute they conceive.

Basically it comes down to age and when they're going to school - so if they're going in 2010 and they're looking at placements for 2009, you move up the list. Depending on how many other kids on the list are going to school in 2010.

This is when all that crap about what time of the year you're born comes into play. We have a February baby - borderline do you hold them back, do you send; a May - the WORST time of year to be born when it comes to determining your schooling; an October - PERFECT! and a July - not ideal but at least clear cut.

God I'm scaring even myself.

The age for starting school is completely dependent on each individual child. We sent one at 6 and one at 4.5 - and it was the right thing for each one - you know if your child is ready and the preschool teacher is also very well versed on knowing if a child is school-ready.

I'm stopping now as I'm making myself run screaming to the hills.

kurrabikid said...

Thanks Kim, you've actually made me feel a little better about the whole process...!

shula said...

I used to rock up once a week and cry at them.

It still took 6 months.

kurrabikid said...

Ah yes, I remember using the words "financial hardship" on the phone to the council childcare co-ordinator. Suddenly he put me on hold and actually went and got some phone numbers for me...