Preschool Rules!

November 7, 2007 at 3:28 pm (Eleanor, parenting) (, , , , )

In case you haven’t heard, the Vancouver Civic strike is over, which means I have been able to return in recent weeks to the tot gym with Eleanor. Don’t get me wrong, the tot gym is great–all the tricycles and sliding boards I don’t have the money or room for, for the low low price of $2.50 a visit! But, yesterday I tried out the family center’s drop-in preschool for the first time and now I’m kicking myself for not taking Eleanor there sooner. And, it wasn’t even closed during the strike (but I bet it was busy busy busy)!

Neighborhood moms had told me a while back about this place where you could go with your kid to play and do crafts. At first, I pooh-poohed getting out and about at 9 in the morning, but fortunately, the end of day light savings time has us in early-bird mode around here (well, it’s either get up an hour earlier to preserve our peaceful mornings without Eleanor or wake up with her and rush rush rush, ’cause she doesn’t seem to get that she could be sleeping in). I assumed I would be asked to at least purchase some kind of membership or pay some dues for the privilege of using their facilities, their paint and craft supplies, their toys and playground. Oh, and there’s free coffee! What does it all cost? A banana!

No lie. A banana is what I paid. Every parent brings a piece of fruit that gets cut up and split amongst all the kids at snack time. But, first comes play time! There were kids playing house in one corner, dress-up in another. There was a paint station with several easels beside the playdough table and a crafts table (where Eleanor got glue in her hair). There was a jungle gym were she first tested her strength hanging from the monkey bars and lasted a few seconds before dropping safely to the mat below. For older kids (like 3- and 4-year-olds) there were games and puzzles. Play time was absolute mayhem! They say the afternoon session is much quieter.

After play time came singing, for which Eleanor didn’t really want to sit still. She’s never had to learn a time for this and a time for that, since I pretty much follow her schedule at home. Anyway, she cried briefly because I wouldn’t let her run off to the bi-dah (the slide), but she got over it and got excited when she saw one of the nice ladies bringing around plates of fruit. Yay snack time!

Oh, and the ladies that work there are sooooooo nice! They did a great job of making me feel welcome as a first-timer and introduced me around (although I recognized a few moms and caretakers from other neighborhood programs and playgrounds). And–get this–since there are paid attendants present, once Eleanor gets more familiar with the place and the people, I’ll be able to leave her in the preschool while I go downstairs and have a coffee in the lounge! For the cost of a single piece of fruit!

I’d like to say thank you to the Canadian federal government and the city government of Vancouver for this wonderful service!

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