I have been researching possible preschools for my boy child since before we returned to Japan. With his speech delay I was pretty adamant about him attending a school where they speak English. When we were in Misawa, Noah attended a Japanese preschool a few days a week. This was his opinion on the matter:
Looking back, I am sure it was a pretty scary experience. I mean, he has a hard enough time telling me what he wants, and I speak his native language. In any event, I have been looking for international preschools and was pleased to see I had several options. Of course it was not that simple...
They are insanely expensive. I am talking the cost of tuition at your local state college.
They are all far away. While they may not be far, milage wise, with traffic it takes about 40 minutes to get to the school we were the most fond of. Amelia hates the car. I hate driving in Japanese traffic with Japanese drivers. I get poo pains and sweaty palms, it`s not a pretty sight.
They have busses that come pick up your toddler.
I know that it is just what they do here. Heck, once the kids are elementary age they walk to and from school all by themselves. But these busses, these cutesy busses shaped like bunnies or trains or pokemon, do not even have seat belts. To say I am uncomfortable with the idea is an understatement.
To top it off, once Noah turns three in December he will be considered `pre-kinder` age and will have to go to school five days a week from 9-2:30. But if we choose to have the bus pick him up he would be out of the house from 7:30 in the morning to 5:30 at night. HE`S THREE.
There is actually a Japanese preschool right around the corner from our house. Literally, up a flight of stairs and one block over... I`m starting to reevaluate it all.
Of course I do not need Noah to go to preschool for any reason other than for him to grow and have the opportunity to be amongst peers. He is going to start speech therapy this week (yay!) which will be in our home. But this program is only for infants and toddlers up to the age of three, at which point he will be reassessed to see if he qualifies for a preschool on Base where he will receive therapy (like the one we attended in Raleigh). They have a different set of qualifying factors than the early intervention folks, so we`ll just have to wait and see what happens. I can`t imagine him not qualifying... so this may be an option.
Anyway, I know my little boy is growing up. But I just can not bare to put him on a bus just yet. Even if it is shaped like a bunny.