Last month Noey began a twos program at a Montessori school on the UWS. She attends the school three days a week from 8:30 am (or whenever I drop her off) to 3:30 pm. There are ten children in Noey’s class and three teachers.
As a new student, the school required Noey to participate in phase-in period which I thought would be difficult as a working parent. Luckily, her teachers were extremely accommodating in accelerating the period based on Noey’s comfort level. Although Noey was only scheduled to attend school for one hour her first day of school (with a parent in the classroom), she adjusted so well that she was able to stay until lunch. I was able to leave after 45 minutes in the classroom and her father picked her up. The next day she stayed through lunch and the following day she stayed through her nap and the phase-in period was complete. Typically, the teachers increase the time by an hour each day and slowly move parents out of the classroom as children become comfortable with their teachers and environment.
The school does not have a kitchen so parents must pack a lunch each day. I packed Noey’s lunch the first week and quickly learned how difficult it is come up with a different lunch each day. Especially in a nut free school that does not permit peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches. I decided to enroll in the school’s Red Rabbit program which includes a daily hot lunch, fruit & veggie snack and drink. It’s an additional cost but well worth the money for the time saved trying to come up with a lunch each day. The school does provide Cheerios and milk for the children to snack on in the morning and a fresh fruit or vegetable as a snack. The children are not permitted to have sippy cups. As part of the schools focus on personal care, children are encouraged to pour their own beverage, use glass dishware and wash their dishes. This may seem extreme to some parents, but the children seem to enjoy it. Washing dishes is a play activity for them.