Awhile ago I wrote an article in education about how competitive preschools and kindergartens were in New York City. I researched the phenomenon because my husband had to write a recommendation letter for a child in his class (and he teaches three year olds) to get into kindergarten for the ‘08-’09 year! It boggles my mind, and frankly makes me glad that I homeschool.
But if preschool is highly competitive and it’s important to get into the right preschool, then you have to figure that a baby must be in training to have the right skills to go to the right preschool. My hunch about the right ‘training’ for preschool was confirmed this week when I signed my older children up for their classes at the Y.
I have never signed any of my children up for classes before the year they turn four years old. But apparently, I have missed the band wagon as the largest section in the catalog was for classes geared towards kids ages 24 months and younger.
Everything from music appreciation to art appreciation, to foreign languages to games was offered for babies. Oh and don’t forget the all important swimming skills for your infant as early as six months. At about $400 a class, I have to wonder if this is really worth it.
Building a Smarter Baby
I think the answer to whether or not the money is well spent depends on the goal of the parent. Honestly, research study after research study shows that what builds babies skills the best is interaction with mom and dad and other adults. Talking to your baby, reading to your baby and playing with your baby will be all that you need to build a brainier baby. There are even studies that show that slinging your baby makes him smarter, and they think the reason is because it automatically involves the slinged child in the interaction of the adult world–even if he’s passively watching.
While I realize many of these baby classes are for moms and babies you really limit the interaction you can have with your child by sticking him (and you) in a class with ten other babies and moms. This is really a case where simpler is better.
Getting Mom Out
While there are plenty of parents looking for ways to build smarter babies I don’t think that’s the only reason to sign up for parent/baby classes. One huge advantage to schlepping your little darling out once a week to do something that you could probably do at home, is that it puts you in contact with other moms that have babies about the same age as yours. It’s an instant social network in which to swap tips, ideas, and stories about sleep deprivation.
While I’m not a fan of spending the money for these types of classes, there is one class that I’d make an exception for. Look for it in my next blog!