How to Pick A Preschool

On January 1st I sat-up instantly in bed and said “OMG I’ve missed it haven’t I – it’s preschool application time isn’t it?! I’ve missed it and now Astrid won’t get into our preschool of choice for Fall.  She will never get into Harvard!”


Okay, I didn’t really say that nor pretend that I was in NYC for the intense preschool process -but I did have some pretty bad memories of just a short six years ago when we entered the preschool market with our first child.


Six years ago the process was intense, the best places filled up in minutes, and prices were high.


Turns our times have changed – I have a feeling it is the economy – but preschools are WIDE-OPEN right Astrid is actually a hot commodity and we are getting marketed TO just to attend their school.


(I like pink tulips and red wine in case you are reading…dear preschool.  Oh and Astrid likes chocolate milk from McDonald’s and cake batter ice cream.)


So we’ve been touring preschools for the last two weeks because my word – CHOICES! And I have to laugh at how I am going about this process so differently with my third child versus with my first.


And I’ve made a list of questions/requirements that have completely changed.


First Child:  Quiz and ask for CPR demonstration from all teachers. Search rooms by crawling on floor to look for objects that child could swallow and choke. Analyze every toy and catalog to check for recalls.  Go down playground slide to test landing. Gives teachers 10 possible emergency phone numbers and s.o.s. signals.

Third child: Child comes to tour with marbles and Polly Pockets in her hands. Hand teacher a box of band-aids. Forget to leave phone number. Drop-off is at 8:55, yes?



First Child: Ask if snacks are organic and healthy choices. Nod and applaud their no-peanut policy.

Third Child: Ask if you could donate a bag of Fritos and that you are totally okay with them just slapping some peanut butter on some bread. Drop-off is at 8:55, yes?


Enrichment Activities:

First Child: Ask specific questions about what they will read, what field trips they take, museums and artists they will study, what toys will develop their creativity, guest artists schedules, is the playdoh homemade.

Third Child: So drop-off is at 8:55, yes? Can we drop-off earlier?


Gross Motor Opportunities:

First Child:  Analyze playground equipment. Measure square-footage per child in the gym.

Third Child: Do you have a Wii? Drop-off is at 8:55, yes?


What Astrid wore during a Preschool tour and shopping with mom last week:

Lagoon tee, Mimi Dress, Miso Sweater and Mac Leggings all from Matilda Jane Clothing. (Did you know I sell Matilda Jane? – Spring launches February 1st – email me and I’ll set you up. 😉 Target Ugg knock-offs and fabulous hat from Nuxie Made.


And now that I look at her…I don’t think I’m ready for my best friend to leave me and go to preschool. No, I think I need her home with me…maybe just one more year. She is my baby you know.  Holding tight.

About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, world traveler, and marathon runner. I would love for you to contact me at

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. says


    I’m keeping Monkey home til he’s 3. I don’t care what anyone else says.

    And adorable outfit Astrid!! Quite the fashionista. You know all the other kids at preschool will be bugging their moms for Matilda Jane clothes right? (smart sale strategy Tracy!)

    • admin says

      I know preschool will basically just be a sales strategy for

      Also, she will just go two mornings…which now doesn’t seem like a whole lot.

  2. says

    Astrid is utterly darling! I have no doubt she’s going to embrace going to school because it is what the sisters do! I had to laugh at your 1st child vs 3rd child comparisons, funny & very true! Oh, but I hear you, hold on tight…these years are like rocket ships zooming past! I almost got hives last week registering #3 for kindergarten, I had to remind myself that we still have 1/2 a year of preschool left…and thankfully 2 more to go through preschool! Hugs!

  3. says

    She is adorable! She always looks like a little model. I’m in the middle of pre-school hell which is incredibly similar to daycare hell. The waiting lists are over a year long even for public ones and it gives me anxiety! I think my kid will get into Harvard before our name comes up on the list.

  4. says

    It’s true! Last year when I lost my work-at-home job and had to commute to an office I had to pick a new school. I found the one closest to my house so I could save precious minutes every day, looked at it before even thinking of any others and walked in with the “it better be good ENOUGH” mentality.

  5. says

    First of all, she is a total doll.

    Now… the preschool process. It was INSANE with my first. People waiting outside schools at 4am in the awful snowy weather trying to get one of the coveted spots. And you had to know what school you wanted your child to go to as they all registered on the same day and you only had time to register at one. I debated so much about which the first would go to.

    My third- eh, this school will do, and OH, they have drive-up drop-off and I can send him for an extra hour with lunch bunch. Score.

    • admin says

      I know – the one we are looking at doesn’t have a lunch-bunch…not sure I love that lack of flexibility.

      • says

        That was something that I’m only doing with my third. He loves it and is NOT happy if I suggest picking him up before Lunch Bunch.

        But, we didn’t have it with my first. And only sent my second to it like twice b/c I had appointments and couldn’t get him.

        It’s another third child thing!

  6. says

    You should check out our preschool. We can drop off way earlier than 8:55. I think Esa would love Astrid. He has a thing for blondes.

  7. says

    Oh my!! I love the boots. 🙂 It is so true. In time we learn to not be so concerned about the small things. We learn that the most important aspect of preschool is that they have fun. We also learn that no matter what questions we ask we do have to let go a little. That the schools all want good things and are really trying their best.

  8. says

    oh the preschool process!! i am loving her outfit. matilda jane is one of my favorites. and thanks for reminding me!! i need to go pick up the preschool forms 😉

    found you via mama loves papa.

  9. says

    Her outfit is adorable.
    And I have heard about this preschool madness…so not the case here in the cold north. No tours. No craziness.

  10. says

    Charlie needs to do some shadowing at TCA and Highland to decide on high school, what a contrast! I bet he won’t let me take a picture of what he is wearing…

  11. says

    I got to stay home with Zaid longer than I did with the girls. He came to work with me in backup daycare until he was six months (I was on a waiting list for the daycare near home. The market is NEVER wide open in DC. Ever. And tuition is high as a giraffe’s ass everywhere. Screw the economy; the lawyers who run the city are still rich). Sorry, I’m back.

    I have to say that Astrid is so cute and playful looking that I have no idea how you’re considering letting her go. I miss having a small girl to dress. Also, are you sure it’s 8:55?

  12. says

    Ha! Love the first child and third child comparison! We have an 8:00 drop-off 😉

    p.s. Astrid is ADORABLE in that outfit with the prettiest blue eyes.

  13. says

    Astrid is such a cutie-patootie! Isn’t it amazing how much you change as a parent between the first and the third??? It cracks me up to look back at myself as a first time parent (and to watch my friends as first time parents). Last night, my four year old was out after dark riding her scooter in the street, with only her sisters watching her. I slapped a reflective vest over her jacket, and she was good to go!! LOL!

  14. says

    Oh, and I’m cracking up that she is wearing only a sweater in Minnesota in JANUARY! What is up with this weather? I was outside last night in my flip flops grills! Crazy!

  15. says

    I’m right there with you. Although, this is my first child….so I’m all about asking those “first time” questions 😉

  16. says

    Haha. Can you write one of these for Kindergarten entrance? I’m about to go through it with my oldest and I wouldn’t have thought to ask any of those kinds of questions. Other than of course drop off/pick up times. Because that’s the most important thing after cost. =)

  17. says

    K already goes 2 days a week but she LOVES it. She cries when she can’t go on Fridays when I take G! She adores her little friends and her teachers. It’s SO cute. But I know what you mean…

  18. says

    This reminds me of a Dave Barry column – where, for the first child, you detail every moment of every day . . . a journal entry might include several paragraphs about each diaper change.

    The second child might include an entry like “ages 2-16, potty-trained, got a bra, and learned to drive.”

  19. says

    Those photos are gorgeous! And so true about the difference in 1st, 2nd, 3rd…although, even with my first I had to get what I could since I needed daycare that started by 7 am. Not much out there!

  20. says

    Love her little outfit- I’m sure she’ll be first on the list for all the preschools! And your list was hilarious. I’ve got three as well, and it’s so true. With my first, I walked him to and from the parking lot every day; with my third, I can’t get through that carpool line fast enough!

  21. says

    Hilarious! I totally relate! (Theo turned up at preschool with a golf ball in hand and a marble in his pocket.) Astrid is beyond beautiful & she’s got the same twinkle in her eye that you do. XO

  22. says


    I have two words for your post, “SO TRUE”, oh, and “Hilarious”; but that is really three.


    Your Utah Friend,


  23. says

    We just went on our final tour on Friday. I, too, was very concerned my procrastination had ruined her chances at Harvard. But thankfully, I was wrong. Eagerly anticipating the 8:55 drop off.