March 21, 2002 - Thursday
We've started to look into preschools for Harry. I've thought for a long time that by the time Harry reaches three or so he would need a more active and socially stimulating environment than the current small family daycare. However, with the exception of a single call to a recommended local preschool, we'd been in no rush to start a real search because it seemed like a long way away, we'd have liked Harry and Jeremy to be in the same place for at least a little while, and because his current daycare is so good and reliable. But now his daycare provider's own new baby has complicated matters in terms of availability at her daycare (according to state law) and it now seems that Jeremy and Harry bring there together will be awkward. So, we've accelerated our search. And, we've found that the fall or even next January is not at all a long way away for daycare centers.
Fortunately, we visited a place Tuesday that could make an opening for Harry if we wanted in either the Toddler (2-year olds) or the Preschool program (3-year olds). At 2.9 (the colloquial for 2 years, 9 months and the legal age for entrance into a "3 year old" program), Harry is just on the cusp of eligibility for preschool. Yet, since our search is really predicated on Harry needing more socialization rather than straight care, we have our eyes on preschool, especially since we think Harry is so advanced for his age. It was agreed that the next step would be to bring Harry there for a mini-evaluation; to see if the school director agreed that he would be ready to join the older kids in September. We had that visit today.
Apparently, in addition to the verbal skills that we know Harry has in advance of his age, the school looks for a child's ability to focus on a single activity rather than being easily distracted and becoming easily board. They are also somewhat interest to see if a child had developed a sense of humor, a sign that they would be starting to recognize a certain degree of abstraction. The admittedly inexact prognosis for Harry was that with five months to go before he would start in September he would very likely be ready to participate with the older kids, having already showed plenty of focus (today it was with a big tub of soft balls as we and the director watched) and a little bit of humor.
I guess I didn't have much doubt at all that Harry would show himself well and, indeed, after an initial bout of expected shyness Harry took control and happily made the place his own. The caveat was that the other kids were all outside at the time and Harry didn't get a chance to, or didn't have to as the case may have been, interact with others. But, with little more than anecdotal evidence to know where he stands it is nice to have someone who sees so many children confirm that he's doing well and improving those social interactive skills is the main reason behind going to a larger place.