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The Politics of Preschool

Posted Oct 01 2008 8:05pm

So, around these parts apparently I'm some sort of leper. I'm the one in my neighborhood that's not sending my nineteen-month-old child to a temple preschool. Now, for those of you who are not Jewish and obviously going straight to hell or at least not fully understanding the big difference between a frozen bagel and one from a Jewish deli - let alone the difference between a bagel and a biali, temple preschool seems to be the way to go among the lox and cream cheese crowd. I, myself, am Jewish but I'm am opposed to sending my child to a temple preschool where they have the nerve to charge you temple membership fees a YEAR IN ADVANCE to when your child would attend their school. The fee to join up? - only thousands of dollars - plus a lot of extra fees for improvement or some other bullshit. I'm not sure what you get for that except for good seats at the high holidays.

It's not that I don't honor my Jewish heritage. I actually got lectured on a previous post for making fun of Jews because of a joke about us being good bargainers even at a nudie bar (sorry but we are). I realize that millions of us were rounded up during world war 2 and that if something that awful happened again I'd be rounded up just like everyone else. the meantime, I don't want my child leading a sheltered existance in a school where an inordinate amount of time is spend contemplating snacks and the other mothers are waaaaay too into temple politics for my taste. FOR MY TASTE, PEOPLE. Please don't get all up in arms about this. It's my personal decision. I think that Judaism has become something less than a spiritual endeavor in these parts of the LA Valley and more of a club of which I don't need to be a member.

I found a cute preschool close to my house that seems like a throwback to my preschool days which of course I remember clear as a bell. Or not. But no matter. This school only has 12 kids to a class which I think is great. The two teachers have been teaching together for 10 years (maybe they're gay. All the better). There are children of all creeds and colors and it's non academic. A developmental preschool in this competitive age is an oasis in the desert.

All I can say is, I went, I saw, I signed up. it's that easy. I didn't spend the better part of my daughter's toddlerhood weighing the pros and cons of which school would give her the best chance in getting into Yale. It's fucking preschool. I'm putting my money where my book is. I have friends who happily spend the better part of what could be a perfectly enjoyable margarita infused playdate discussing which school district we're in and how that's going to affect the old college years of our offspring. Newsflash: I didn't even go to college and I barely graduated high school with a 2.3 GPA. But in nursery school, I kicked ass. So I don't think one has anything to do with another and I'm not going to get involved in all the drama that surrounds this hot topic. Let them discuss it on the View, in playgroups and on playdates without me. I'm going with my gut.

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