My daughter was born in the summer of 2013. While that seems like yesterday to me, according to the DOE, that means it’s time to think about – and apply for - UPK.
I’m grateful – as I know all city parents are – to have UPK as an option for my child. But it forces me to think about how old my baby is getting and that she’s not a baby anymore.
The application process and the concept is also a little jarring, and I don’t mean to complain. When I was a child, my mother literally brought me to the school nearest to our house, signed me up, and off I went.
I love the fact that we have choice as parents. The reality for me is that we will not use our zoned school because of our personal preferences. Therefore, my husband and I are pursuing other schools for her.
So after much research, we decided to apply to three UPK programs plus the program at the school she currently attends, a private Montessori school. I am incredibly happy with her current school. The great thing is that now, as a three-year-old, she attends three full days and spends two weekdays with family. This is my attempt to balance wanting to give her a solid foundation, a leg up on her education, and allow her to be my baby just a little bit longer.
But UPK is five days. Five days for a four-year-old. Please don’t misunderstand – this is not a complaint – this is the unwillingness of a mom of an only child to let her go off into the world. I’m the one that’s not ready yet.
Not only am I not ready for my toddler to attend school five days a week, I’m not ready for her to go off to a large public school. As I await the acceptance/wait list letters that are due to come in April from the DOE, and greet the decisions I’ll need to make about where she will go come September with equal parts anxiety and excitement, I’ll squeeze my little one and beg her to stay my baby a little longer.