School Selection: The Parental Coolness Quotient

Friday, October 11, 2013

We have begun to think about which preschool Poppy should go to.  She is one and a half now, and it would be ideal for her to go to a preschool that’s attached (physically or otherwise) to a grade school that has long-term potential.  Clearly, there are many things to consider when choosing a school for a child: curriculum, location, price, class size, the presence or absence of impressive alumni, a strong and dependable air-conditioning apparatus (we live in Texas).  And there’s one not-so-obvious element to consider when your leafing through those brochures and digesting statistics: the coolness quotient of the students’s parents at the perspective school.  

parental coolness quotient 
(the # of parents who you would 
consider hanging out with and who would
likewise consider hanging out with you)
(the # of parents whose kids attend the school)

The parents of Poppy’s friends are going to be our friends, therefore we are taking this element into account during our pseudo-scientific pre-school search.  Proximity is a powerful thing and you, the parent, are going to be rolling up to this school once or twice per day five times a week for a long time.  Since the parental coolness quotient isn’t posted on many institutional websites, admissions events are key – these are opportunities to scope out your perspective friends.  If all of the mothers in attendance look like kids stopped being fun for them about 6 years ago...I'd move on down the road.

We attended one such admissions event last April, this one for The Dallas International School.  I eavesdropped voraciously and was happy to hear many non-regional accents; Matt likes the idea of Poppy going to a school where children of ‘hard-working immigrants’ are in matriculation.  Children whose parents and/or grandparents reminisce about communist repression and super long breadlines – children who are less likely to take capitalism and blatant opportunity for granted.

The likability of the school’s parents matters.  What kind of people do you want to hang with?  Aside from the office, the sandbox is where you’re likely going to meet new people with similar lifestyles and interests (and yes, I’m using the sandbox metaphor despite the creepy pedophile connotation).

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