As a mother of a four and two year old (and expecting number three), I have had to make some difficult decisions and realizations about education possibilities. I grew up on the island and went through most of the school system, so I know how limiting it can be for some. Having experienced boarding school and college out of the state of Maine, I knew that I wanted my kids to have more opportunities than what is offered here.
Knowing the limitations, I enrolled my daughter (the four year old) in the pre-K program at The Bay School in Blue Hill, as well as in a local daycare. Growing up on the island, and then moving away for a while, I know how hard it can be to live here and not be accepted as another islander. Having her in an island daycare allowed her to make friends here and start connections. But, I wanted more/different experiences for her, which is where The Bay School came in. I like outside of the box, hands on, and physical experiences. I believe that being exposed to different things growing up opens your mind, builds dreams, and allows you to handle situations outside of your comfort zone better.
After her being at The Bay School for a year, my husband and I had to make the impending decision of where to send her to kindergarten. The factors of money, commuting and what is best for our daughter were our three biggest weighing options. I have gone back and forth between The Bay School and the island elementary school more times than I can remember. I am afraid of my daughter being ostracized from the island people if she is sent to The Bay School. But, is it worth sending her to the island school just so she can have friends here because this is where we live? Are education and experience worth more than people connections? Is the twice a day commute worth it? Should we pay money instead of sending her to school for “free”? Which school would she be happier at? Will it make a difference in the long run? These are many of the questions my husband and I tossed back and forth.
We finally decided that the experiences, and different viewpoint of educating would be really good for her at The Bay School. Our final decision has been reinforced by how our daughter comes home from the pre-K program happily singing songs, talking about the wonderful food the kids helped cook and she actually tried. Who knows if this is something that will benefit her later in life, or if we will even continue with it after kindergarten. It is a year by year decision, and only time will tell.
– Lydia MacDonald