While January is not when one typically thinks of back-to-school, I am amazed at the decisions parents of preschoolers are faced with in the wake of the post-holiday insanity.
This week, I have gotten 3 emails about summer camp, began researching dual-language kindergartens, and had to give a deposit and a letter of intent to our current preschool for Jacob's enrollment in the Fall. It is a lot to process. Let's go one at a time...
Can you say, OMG!!!! I can't believe I am going to register my baby for kindergarten in just a few short weeks. I already had his physical forms filled out at his check-up, so I shouldn't be so shocked, but.... KINDERGARTEN. That is for reals. Here is the thing about that. You can literally show up 2 days before school starts and still be registered in time. So why February 1st as the registration date? Staffing. Space allocations. Funding. If everyone shows up in August, the principals won't have time to get supplies, get the good teachers, and be prepared for the number of kids that are coming. So it is very courteous to register early. Also, the school we are zoned for has a dual language Spanish/English class. There is a lotto for it, so the registration deadline is in the spring.
For next year!?!?! Same thing. Staffing, teachers, supplies, space, etc... Most of the time the directors give first preference to the returning families. They need your plans so they can open up any other spaces to new families. Some preschools always have space, some have insane registration processes. Like, 1960's Beatles ticket-mania waiting in line processes. Now is also the time of year for tours and open houses, so check into it early.
While registration is not necessarily until April for most of them, there are a few popular ones that fill up quickly. The nature ones, museum ones, and the less pricey ones. Also, YMCA swim lessons fill up quickly too. That is, the good weeks. The weeks you do NOT want to be on vacation. So basically, you have to plan out all your stuff RIGHT NOW. Want a week of camp, a week of swimming, a week at the beach, and a week to visit Grandma and Grandpa this summer? And you have to put in for the vacation days. Better get it organized or it will be gone.
It seems like a lot to get a grip on, and there is certainly not ALWAYS a rush for these things. But I think it is best to be prepared, that way you can avoid disappointment if things don't quite shake out. I mean, with the way the Christmas lights come up in October, isn't it practically swimsuit season anyway?