To playschool or not to playschool

Avanee is 18 months old. She looks older because she has a full head of hair that’s usually tied up in little ponytails on either side of her head and is very active as compared to most kids her age. From the time she opens her eyes in the morning to the time she (finally) shuts them for the day, she is constantly up and about, often driving me and other caregivers up the wall with her incessant yapping and dangerous window climbing. She is almost toilet trained, is very communicative, and LOVES being around other kids.

About a month ago, on a very, very frustrated afternoon, I contemplated the idea of sending her to the playschool bang opposite my building. No no, not because I wanted to finally take my food pictures with some real props over an hour or so instead of just sitting stuff up on the window sill and clicking while she pees—because she needs to be around kids her age. MK laughed at the idea that his little princess might actually be ready for school. (Knowing him, he probably imagined her getting married and skipped a heartbeat, but that’s another story.) I was so delighted at the prospect of having her out of my hair for two hours a day that I dashed opposite and checked out the place and convinced them to give her a trial. (I know, bad mommy.) I almost bought a school bag and water bottle and tiffin box. I imagined her in their cheerful multicolored uniform. In the happy knowledge that the week-long trial starts tomorrow, I took a nap in the afternoon, next to my darling daughter, who probably thought our trip to the playschool was a fun one-off outing. (Poor her.)

And in my state of drugged-like sleep, I felt guilty to the point of tears. (No, it’s not PMS.) Guilty of having disguised my being a bad mother under the wraps of her need for activity and same-aged company. So what if she already sings “Eeya eeya oh” on cue and points to all body parts correctly? Do I really want to stuff her in a uniform at this age and have her recite the alphabet everyday? She’ll be the youngest in class and she’ll have to do another year of playschool anyway—am I OK with that? Will she be able to cope Does she really need those two hours away from home, from simple, unstructured life? Am I really such an epic failure of a mother that I can’t deal with another few months of Lakdi ki kathi 12 times a day and jumping off pillows 7 times a day? Even if I complain about other things, am I not happy to see her swing to my bad singing, watch her eyes sparkle as she sees a bird at the window, do her little dance-in-abandon as she sings “Am-ma, Ba-ba” in steady trance?

Do I really want to throw my daughter in the inevitable rat race of life a few months too early? I don’t think so. Springdale, you can wait.

Comments (14)

  1. chinmayie @ love food eat November 15, 2011 at 5:45 am

    Enjoyed this post Saee!
    PS or not is really not black and white. For most people it's not even an option.
    If it's an option then it's a personal choice to send your baby (at 1.5 or 2 I still consider them babies) to PS or not.
    We (my husband and I) always believed PS is not really needed for kids. But then we also don't really believe in schooling itself. Our plan right now is to Home School her but I try not to talk/plan too much about it as we never know what the future holds for us. Nothing goes as planned 🙂 My daughter is 2.5 right now and no school so far. She is bright, active and happy so life is good.
    But let me be clear, I don't HATE schools or Play Homes, it's just that WE don't believe in it 🙂

  2. vinaya November 15, 2011 at 7:11 am

    loved this post Saee, and you are truly blessed to have Avanee :D. God bless

  3. Priti November 15, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Awwwww!!! Your lil'princess has really grown up and that picture of her laughing really made my day! I still remember the pic u posted when she was 'just out of the oven' that made me cuchi-coo the computer screen. 🙂 How can you possibly think of being away from such an adorable, bundle of joy who grows cuter day by day! A million hugs and kisses to Avanee!!! I am not a mom yet so I have no experience on how things really are behind the happy pictures of babies but all I can say is enjoy their childhood till it lasts, and till you mean the whole world to them. I am sooooooo proud of you for keeping her away from Play School for some more time. Thank you so much!!!

  4. ReallyPosh November 15, 2011 at 8:48 am

    OMG! I sooo hear you! My daughter is 17 months old and I have been dilly dallying about the whole play school thingy for quite some time. (and ditto with the incessant playing of 'lakdi ki kaathi'!). However, I guess I would send her to school EVENTUALLY, maybe before she turns three at least- in my opinion a kid learns a LOT from its peers- something my daughter and her same age cousin have been proving for quite some time!

  5. baBa November 15, 2011 at 9:09 am

    wedi jhali aahes kaa tu 😛

    let her be a free bird.. atleast for a few more months. prerferably for the next 144 months.. by them she will be in her 6th grade…

    then u can wait for another 36 months.. and then u can put her in some nice tuition classes..like parthasarthy's ..

    playschool are dumb..

    remember 1 thing.. our parents dint go to any play school ..nor their parents.. and we are just perfect today.. so no harm..

    unless ….

  6. Manisha Pandit November 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    It's a personal choice and it also depends on whether she enjoys it. My baby loved it. It made her more adaptable and social but our circumstances were different – we were in the US, no family around and none of our friends had kids her age. I had to actively seek out play groups and I didn't always connect with the moms who came hand-in-hand with the kids. Day-care for a couple of hours 3 times a week was what we started with. We never looked back nor did I feel guilty about having her go there. It was good for her and good for me, mainly cos I got a ton of things done when she was away, giving me more quality time with her when she was home, instead of being hampered by chores.

    Avanee is a complete doll! Whatever you decide to do, it won't be wrong. It will be the right thing to do at that time. Enjoy her childhood with her! She's just too adorable!

  7. Ms.Chitchat November 15, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    A beautiful write-up, touching too. You should write more often as you can clearly vent out ur feelings in paper.Btw, a big huggy to darling Avanee.

  8. Sudhindra November 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Very well articulated note. Happy to learn that she can continue her pillow plays for at least a few more months. She looks cute as a petal in that pretty dress.. God Bless!

  9. Priya Sreeram November 16, 2011 at 1:22 am

    adorable she looks- wishes n blessings to her. yup I do agree that joining kids to playschool as early as 18 months is really not needed.

  10. sliceofmylyfe November 28, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    She is adoreable. I sent my daughter to playschool at 19 months and to my surprise inspite of being the youngest she seemed to be smartest ( the teacher's opinion as well). She knew most of the nursery rhymes, could count until 10 and could recite her alphabets. But I realized that I missed her more than ever even in those two hours. So I decided to get her out of it for my own selfish reasons. Also the fact that she skipped atleast one meal the day she went to school bothered me too much. Right now she is two and I am still thinking about whether or not I should send her to school.

  11. Anonymous December 27, 2011 at 2:28 am

    I sent my son to playschool when he was 18 months..and no, he didn't need to repeat playschool again. Also, these days playschools are also pretty unstructured..all they do is play and recite some rhymes – just generally have fun.

    At 5, he's in Sr. kg now and although a bit smaller than the rest, he's no way lagging behind the others. He's a bright, smart, articulate child and he loves wearing his little uniform and riding in his school bus. School is just around 2.5 hours.

    Again, it's a personal choice. I didn't feel guilty at all sending him off to school because I always had the option of not sending him if he was too uncomfortable. Thankfully, he took to it like a fish to water…

    Loving your blog btw…! 🙂

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  13. jennings alice May 19, 2015 at 3:06 am

    Great Blog,Informative.Keep up the good work.Keep updating.
    Preschool In Bangalore

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