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Patience Is A Virtue

Surviving the preschool waitlist

Unfortunately for many of us, the preschool application process includes some time spent in waitlist purgatory. It’s a bummer, yes, but it’s not the end of the world according to Betsy Brown Braun, local preschool guru and author of Just Tell Me What to Say and You’re Not the Boss of Me! Here, she shares her thoughts on how to deal.

Don’t take it personally. “Remember it’s not about you. Unless it is because you’re a high maintenance parent and you shot yourself in the foot.”

Try not to fret. “Ninety-nine percent of children do get in to some sort of nursery program and do just fine! Be reassured by that.”

Make yourself known. “In my experience, when the applicant is familiar with the director, who ultimately makes decisions, it is more likely they’ll get in. If you call or send a note—not an avalanche—you’re more likely to get in than an empty name who didn’t follow up.”

Don’t try to buy your way in. “In my years working as a school director, families sending presents, going to fundraisers, and donating  didn’t mean a thing to me. I would rather hear from people who know you and say you’re a lovely family.”

Do what you’re told. “If the director says call once a month, do it. If she says don’t call, don’t.” 

Understand the math. “If a spot does not exist, one cannot be made. Schools are licensed to have only one child for every 25 square feet inside, and every 75 square feet outside. That’s it. The schools that break this law are breaking the law!”

Remember that there is no such thing as the “best” nursery school.
“You have to choose the right school for your family, not the one that might be perceived as the best. This should not be about keeping up with the Joneses.”