Posted by: workforcookies | March 10, 2009

The ABC’s of Second Chances

Good news! The pre-school my son was rejected from called to tell me they have a spot for him. (Yippee, and a deep sigh of relief!)

My nanny called me at work around 2:30 to tell me that the registrar from the pre-school called. Apparently, she’d left a message with me five days prior telling me that there was a spot for him. She hadn’t heard back from me—I hadn’t gotten the message—so she was calling to let me know that she was going to give the space to another child. 

“Wait!” My nanny practically yelled into the phone. “I know she’s really interested in this school. I’m sure she would have called you if she’d gotten the message.” [Reminder: Give nanny a big raise!]

Luckily, that did the trick. The registrar said she would hold my son’s spot——for 20 more minutes. Fortunately, I was at my desk when my nanny called to give me the news. I called the registrar right away. Got her voice mail. Panicked. Called the school and was told to call the registrar. Ran down the hall to my bosses office. Her daughter goes to the school. My boss rifled through her day planner in search of a cell phone number for the registrar. No luck. 

Back to my desk where I retrieve a message from the registrar, saying she got my message. My son is in!

When it comes to choosing a preschool, working moms are certainly at a disadvantage. You can only visit the schools during school hours, which happen to be during work hours. Because I couldn’t really take a week of vacation to spend a full day at each of the schools I was interested in, I doubled up. I’d cram in an early “interiew” at one school then race over to the second school for a late “interview.” I’m convinced the reason my son didn’t make the first cut for this school was because doubling up like this sent the schools a message that I wasn’t as interested as I was. 

So, if I had it to do all over again, I would have done things a little differently. And I’ll tell you what I would do I in the hopes that some working mom out there who hasn’t yet been through the parade of preschool interviews will benefit.

September or October (yes, a full year before you want your child to start preschool) Start researching schools. Ask other moms in your area and do some surfing on the web. Look not just for glowing reports, but also for cost. (Don’t even consider visiting a school you can’t afford, you’ll just be more disappointed if you—or your child— end up loving it.) 

November or December Take a few mornings off work to visit potential schools with your child. (You’ll have to save up vacation days, or use sick days, for this.) The official interview period for preschools will start in January, so it’s okay to double up on some appointments at this point in order to squeeze in all the schools you want to see. You can come up with your own criteria for what you want in a school—I based mine on where my son seemed most comfortable and receptive.

January, the official interviewing process begins. You should have zeroed in on a top school—if preschool applications are competitive in your area, you’ll want to choose a top three. Make an appointment with the schools of your choice and plan to spend some time at each one. Talk to the director and the teachers, ask them how they handle developmental issues like sharing, potty training, etc. Be sure to tell them you are interested in their school. Heck, tell ’em they’re your first choice, if that’s the truth.

On the day the applications are due. Walk it in, mail it in, e-mail it in. Whatever it takes, just get the application to the school of your choice and fast!

Good luck, and may your child delay the lesson of the fourth “R” (rejection) for as long as possible, or at least until Junior High school where he can learn about it for free!



  1. I was holding my breath as the time was running out on reaching the registrar.
    Your suggestions are most helpful for working moms. They will know when and where to start looking for a preschool for their child or children, considerations for their child, and when the process is over.

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