As of April 1st, Mia and Bram's pre-school will only be open two mornings a week. No, it is not a practical joke, it is the cold hard reality of living in a small town in a low-populated region. There are simply not enough kids being born around here, a fact that I always figured was none of business, but which has now abruptly become my problem.
Right now there are only 11 children in Mia and Bram's pre-school class, when there should be a minimum of 16. We're 5 kids too short. I tried to argue that my son Bram really counts for two, but apparently it's not about personality, it's about physical presence. And the saddest news, is that the sweetest most wonderful teacher, the number one reason I can even convince Mia to get dressed in the morning, is forced to leave the pre-school. Without a fulltime job, she can't pay her bills. Logical. Heart-breakingly logical.
When I pick up the kids in the afternoon, I can't help but notice the number of baby buggies scattered around the school yard. Off the top of my head, I would say there are about 20 potential candidates for the pre-school in town who will be able to attend just as soon as they've done a bit more growing. Why oh why did the committee decide to take away two mornings when in a year's time, they're just going to have to give them back again? It makes no sense to me, or to any of the other parents caught up in this mess.
I'm not the only one trying to earn an income while raising one or more toddlers. The other moms and dads I talk to are scratching their heads too as to how they're going to manage to go to work when their children have no place to go three days a week. Even if we do find another alternative, it will be a logistical nightmare to drive our kids all over the place just so we can get a few hours work in, plus it's going to cost us an extra arm and a leg as well! I don't know about the other parents, but I was already on my last limbs...
We're in the process of launching a media offense at the moment via newspaper and radio. We're getting no reaction from the folks in charge of making the decisions that directly affect our lives, which makes us feel like we're not being taken seriously. At this point, it feels like us parents can do nothing but stand by and watch as the 'gods' of pre-school education systematically pluck everything that's important to us and our kids away from us. Well we won't. I don't know quite how yet, but we won't.