My three-year-old attends two different "preschools" this year, one Monday/Wednesday/Friday and another Tuesday/Thursday. (We'd prefer that she attend just one, but we missed our shot at the five-days-a-week class.) It's presented a natural experiment of sorts. The dropoff policy for the MWF school is that parents park their cars and walk their kids to and from the classrooms. The policy for the TR school is that parents queue their cars in the driveway and allow the teachers to come get the kids out of the cars. I have generally good interaction with the teachers and administrators at both schools. The stark difference ends up being in the relationships among the parents. The simple act of walking past the same faces six times a week, the eye contact, the head nods, the hellos, and at times, the conversations generate solidarity. Staring at strangers through my windshield and rearview mirror may generate curiosity but not much else. I know many of my daughter's classmates and their parents by name at the MWF school. At the TR holiday program today, I realized I was standing awkwardly among a group of nameless strangers. The convenience of the rolling dropoff isn't all that convenient after all.
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