Sammy’s Mom Gets Schooled
“Honey, are you serious? Don’t you think that’s a little extreme?” Becky rolled her eyes at her seriously out-of-touch husband, “Tom, yes I am 100 percent sure. This could be the most important thing we do for Sammy’s future. “But really? A designer preschool? In another year Sammy will be starting kindergarten at good ol’ Lincoln, just down the block….FOR FREE!”
Becky tried to explain, “Sam’s play group teacher recommended this program for him. She thinks it would help him adjust to school easier. You know how he gets when he’s around a group of kids. He wanders off alone, plays in the sand or just swings back and forth not looking or talking to anyone. This would help get him engaged, interacting more with teachers and other kids.” Tom tried to stay patient asked with a sigh, “What would this preschool cost?” “Tom, I can’t believe you would even ask that. Isn’t Sammy’s future worth any price?” “Honey, of course, but….but, okay fine, I’m willing to consider this. Do you have any information on this place?” “No, ” Becky answered, “but I was so sure you would love the idea, we have an appointment with the director this afternoon!”
Tom pulled into a parking spot when he saw the sign for “Elite Academy Preschool”, their catchphrase underneath read, “We prepare the future leaders of the World” Becky squealed, “Leaders, Tom, did you read that? Our son will be a leader!” Tom was the one to roll his eyes this time, “Leader? I’d be happy if he’d just be willing to toss a ball back and forth with another kid.” “Shush…come on, we’re almost late for our meeting.”
Inside the school did look impressive. Near the entrance were several offices, but beyond that was a play area that looked like it was designed by Disney engineers. In one area was a miniature climbing wall with a sign above it that read, “Mt. Success, where the heights you reach are endless”. In another area, enclosed by safety fencing were several long narrow swim lanes, but mini kayaks with short paddles lined the sides of the pool. The sign read, “Racing Rapids, the first one there, leads all the others.” Another area, housed a giant sand box, complete with shovels, cranes, and trucks. There were various play areas in every area of this wide open space. Surrounding the play area were rooms. There were art rooms, music rooms, building material rooms, and a few of them looked like mini boardrooms completed with mini laptop computers.
As Tom and Becky tried to absorb it all, they hadn’t noticed a woman approach them, “Mr. & Mrs. Martin? Welcome. I am very pleased we were able to squeeze you in this afternoon. I am Emma Wilson, Director of Elite Academy Preschool. I see you’ve found our indoor playground, we like to call it The Land of Potential. Why don’t you follow me back to my office where we can talk a bit about the experience your son Sammy would receive here.”
Tom had to admit the building looked impressive. He certainly would have loved something like this when he was a kid. “Hell, I’d love spend my days here now instead in sitting in my office at work.”
“Dr. Wilson, ” as the sign on the door read, invited Tom and Becky to take a seat in comfy high-backed leather chairs. They were arranged in a circle around a round mahogany coffee table. “Before we begin, may I offer you a refreshment? Coffee, a latte, chai tea perhaps?” Both declined, anxious to hear what this woman had to say.
“Then allow me to begin….” Dr. Wilson then explained Elite Academy’s philosophy, what a typical day schedule would look like, what advantage her students would gain once they leave Elite’s doors and march themselves up to the front of the line once they were off to kindergarten. As she wrapped up her sales promotion, she asked the perspective parents if they had any questions? Tom spoke up before Becky could, “My major concern is my son Sammy is not ready for this type of structured environment. He is a little shy and at times gets overwhelmed by too much activity around him.” Dr. Wilson, with a small closed mouth smile replied, “That Mr. Martin is exactly the children we hope to reach. Those that may be left behind in kindergarten because they are simply too timid to fully absorb and enjoy those early years of their elementary school educations. It is our hope that we can reach into their inner self and pull out the fantastic, unique individual they were destined to be.”
While Tom was hoping to go home and discuss it with Becky, Dr. Wilson informed them that if they decide to sign up today, Sammy would be able to join a new group of incoming children next week. Becky eyes pleaded with Tom to consider. He knew his wife would not let a topic rest once she set her mind to something. “Okay fine, I think Sammy will like this school. It’ll be a little like going to an amusement park everyday. Where do we sign?”
On the drive home Tom shook his head, “A thousand dollars a month. Do you realize how many family experiences we could take Sammy on with that kind of money Bec?” ”Yes, I do, but we cannot give him the gift of experiencing new things with other children his age, away from us. Besides it’s only for 8 months. After that he’ll be ready to make the transition to kindergarten.”
Sammy started in his new school the very next week. While he didn’t complain about going, he wasn’t coming home showing much excitement over it. Becky explained to Tom that likely it would take several weeks for Sammy to adjust and once he was comfortable he’d express more delight with everything. Tom said nothing, just hoping he wasn’t wasting his money.
Several weeks later, in the middle of preparing dinner, the telephone rang in the Martin house. “Hello, Mrs. Martin? This is Miss Melanie, Sammy’s teacher. I’m calling to express my concern over Sammy. He doesn’t seem ready to interact with other children. He’s a very polite little boy, but he just doesn’t seem to enjoy his time spent with us.” Becky stammered, “well yes, I know how Sammy gets in groups, but I’m sure once he gets used to the environment he will warm up to everyone.” “I know this is difficult to sometimes admit Mrs. Martin,” Miss Melanie explained, “but there are some kids that are just not ready for this type of environment and it’s best to not rush them. Perhaps by next year, he’ll gain some maturity and will slide right into kindergarten without a hitch.” Becky still stunned, thanked Miss Melanie and hung up the phone.
Tom walked into the kitchen, “Who was on the phone Bec?” “Oh, that was Elite Academy. I left a message for his teacher and she just called back. I told her that I had thought about it and decided that Sammy didn’t really need to spend so much time in school at this young age and I’d rather we use the money for family activities.”