In Which Brooklyn Preschool Craziness Leads Me to Bake

Chewy Molasses-Spice Cookies = my favorite source of prenatal iron.

So last night I made these chewy molasses-spice cookies because a) Ruth Graham told me to and b) because preschool in Brooklyn is ridiculously expensive.

First, the cookies.  They were very easy to make, which I believe I’ve already revealed as one of my main criteria in baking projects.  One complaint: I did have to use ALL THREE of my baking-appropriate bowls, which is a huge bummer counter-space and dish-washing-wise, but, whatever, fine.  (I warned you — I’m a total C-student baker.) But really, they were easy and delicious and seasonal and allowed me to repeatedly say “Molasses,” which is such a lovely word.  Say it! Molasses! Here is the recipe, should you feel so inclined.

Second, the preschool situation.  I don’t know about other places, but in New York things are a little intense: about a year before you conceive, you get in line to pick up an application for the playdate interview where it will be decided whether or not you are allowed to pay $20,000 a year for a half-day twos program if you want to do that and if you don’t of course it’s fine but your kid then won’t get into a 3s program or college.  I exaggerate very slightly.

In the fall Harper will be two and a half.  I would like her to have some sort of friendly, fun, creativity-inspiring, independence-encouraging educational experience, and also for me to have some mornings free to hang out with new guy/gal (due to arrive in March), and also not to have to literally spend Harper’s college account in order to do so.  Thus, I’ve been talking to some of the smart, talented, cool moms I know in the neighborhood (of which there are so many – a reason to love this often-ridiculous place) about starting a preschool co-op.

Here’s our basic idea: we’ll get the kids together two mornings a week, 9-12.  We’ll hire a teacher sometime in the summer, and at each class meeting there will be the teacher and one parent.  We’ll all pitch in to buy supplies and pay the teacher.  The kids will get some learning, we’ll get some experience with separation (that likely sounds ridiculous to working moms, I realize), and just maybe this is a way we can do it without buying in to the whole “Right Preschool” mentality.   And molasses cookies are obviously an important part of this process, which is why I brought them to today’s playdate.

We’ve decided to get together once or twice a month  for these playdates to see how everyone gets along and to let our schooling/unschooling/whatever philosophy develop.  Today the very gracious Beth and Emily hosted six parents and six tots in their gorgeous home near Greenwood Cemetery, and it was a chaotic, overstimulating blast.  The concept of “sharing” is tough at nineteen months or thereabouts as all these kiddos are, but they still managed to get along pretty well, and Harper came away muttering the names of all her buddies with the word “share” spliced in now and then, as if processing the experience.

I’ll write about the co-op process here, and we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, here is a great article about starting preschool co-ops.   (Written by, who else, a writer/mom I know from the neighborhood!)  I don’t know how other people feel about the whole preschool-at-2 question, and maybe I don’t know how I feel about it yet.  But there’s one thing I do know: cookies are delicious.

Pictured: Harper, Emily, Booker, Lee, Theo, Jasper, and Hayden wreak happy havoc on the Laule abode. The pictures would be larger if they were better, I promise. The pictures I mean! The kids are terrific.

5 responses to “In Which Brooklyn Preschool Craziness Leads Me to Bake

  1. I think a co-op is a great idea. Gracie goes to a co-op preschool, and I love it! It’s a very large co-op, with about 50 kids ranging in age from 2-5. We rent space at a local church and hire the teachers. There are several classrooms for the different ages, and there is one teacher in each room, along with one parent every day on a rotating basis. It’s very economical (athough granted I’m in Missouri and not NY, (we pay 100 bucks a month for three mornings a week from 9-12, I’m sure that will make you cry). I love it. We get to have input on what goes on and we get to hang out with kids which is a blast! I end up having to be the helper about once every 3 weeks. I hope you guys can get it organized!!

  2. That sounds like an exciting project.I predict that in the future or even the present, “olds” like me will be organizing our own projects or oldster play dates.
    The “for pay”communities will be too expensive, too distant, and not enough fun.

  3. Pingback: Mrs. Bacarella and Playing Pretend | household words

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