I'm in the middle of the search for a preschool for Little Mister. We opted to home school this year, always with the intention of sending him to the Catholic school that Big Sister attended for six years. We truly love it there and couldn't have asked for a better foundation for her education and supplement to our religious upbringing.
Yesterday, preschool enrollment was opened to the public. I got up early, showered, did my make up, and dolled up the kids. We dropped big sister off at school, stopped by the pediatrician for shot records, and headed confidently to enroll Little Mister in the preschool program for three mornings a week. The tuition would be steep- $120/month in fact. But I felt it was worth it as we'd be introducing Little Mister to the school where he'd spend the next several years of his education. Perhaps more important, he'd be learning in an environment that shared our faith.
When I sit down to fill out the registration forms, I find no three morning option available. Huh. Only a 5 morning option for a whopping $180/month. I'm a bit thrown off and opt to write a check for a non refundable $180 to hold his spot. We visit with two of our favorite teachers, Little Mister visits the first grade classroom for a bit, and we were on our way.
Then I started to think... ponder... fester... fume. After I talked to my husband, I called to let the school know that we would not be attending preschool as they no longer offered an option that was in line with our educational needs for our kid.
Then I fumed a little more. Because here's the thing.
It is next to impossible to find a traditional preschool, at least around here. The vast majority cater to families with two employed parents and are day care/preschool combos. Not such a huge deal, right? Nope. It's a HUGE deal in this mom's opinion. You see, the entire concept behind our beloved Catholic school has been that the parents volunteer their time in order to save employment costs and keep tuition reasonable. The thing is, when the majority of the families enrolled have two employed parents, it leaves little time for volunteering. The result is increased salary costs to fill positions that would normally be filled by parent volunteers. And how does the school compensate? They have no choice but to raise tuition. If those families were choosing jobs to gain stability, I certainly wouldn't mind having to contribute more financially, but when the majority are driving luxury vehicles and living in homes that are worth four times as much as ours, I sort of want to scream. Because families like mine are helping to pay for their material goods by volunteering countless hours around the school, paying inflated tuition prices, all the while driving a car with nearly 300,000 miles. (Maybe that's just my family)
None of this bothered me when there was an option for families like mine, but now our option has been removed, and today, in this moment, I feel like we've been pushed out of our school by a huge number of two-income families. And it makes me mad, and sad. But more importantly, it makes me feel very humbled and thankful to have had the ability and priority to raise our own children full time.