Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yoga, Mandalas, and ... Pre-School??

Our research into area pre-schools for Owen has been interesting, to say the least. It isn't that there are not pre-schools available; in fact, there are pre-schools every few blocks, it seems. What is unique is the cost of these schools and the philosophies which several of them espouse.

The first pre-school we visited cost around $200 to sign our child up, and a little more than that for each month's payment. On top of these fees was the school uniform and a $120 fee for extracurricular activities. Ouch!

The second pre-school was much smaller, located in a nicely remodeled house. It was also much more affordable - about half the cost of the previous one. As the director showed me around, she made several comments about how they tried to choose spaces and materials that were "warm" and promoted well-being. She also was very pleased that they were the first pre-school to offer Kundalini yoga, which she described as being a way for the children to "center" themselves each morning while also obtaining the good physical results of daily exercise. I really liked the director and this place, but when I went home and looked up the name of the pre-school online it brought up an article about their hosting adult "rebirth" workshops designed for auto hypnosis to "cleanse the subconscious and fortify the chakras." Yikes!

So, moving on to the third pre-school. I actually spoke with this one by phone and visited their website. It is right around the corner from us and advertises the fact that parents can monitor their children while at school via cameras in the classrooms. (How cool is that? Pedro said the grandparents would probably be willing to pay for his pre-school if we gave them the password to access the monitors and watch Owen's daily antics, ha!) Included in the name of the school was the word Mandala, which I didn't think much of until I read their statement explaining why they had chosen that name. Sanskrit circles, meditation, healing of psychic and spiritual fragmentation ... Double yikes!!

Needless to say, we personally don't feel comfortable with any of these three options. We do have one other very good possibility, however, which is sending Owen to pre-school with our colleagues' daughter at the Methodist pre-school. It is actually what we had planned to do in the beginning, but having chosen to keep the girls in a school closer to home (for a variety of reasons - I'll save that for another post) we had also hoped to keep him close as well. So, we'll see. At any rate, this has been quite the interesting and enlightening experience and I thought it might make for a good post. I'd love to hear your thoughts! :)


Ragan said...

Yikes!!! Can't they just focus on the alphabet and numbers and colors like American preschools?

David and Anna said...

Mandalas and yoga might not be your thing, but I wouldn't be so scared of them. Like many religious practices, we can tweak them to fit our own personal styles. Many Christians use mandalas as a form of prayer. I have had good experiences using them with youth and adults in our churches. In prayer, we open ourselves up to communication with God, for praise, thanksgiving and also listening. Mandalas, when used in a prayerful way, are a great communication tool. Ask God to come into your heart and your hand, and you will be surprised to see what you hear back through the artwork. Like music and dance, the visual arts are also a great way to express our love for God!