Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sticker Shock

S turned four last month, and many of her friends and playmates are taking ballet. One such friend was over yesterday, and S swooned over her friend's ballet slippers and leotard. Having recently resigned myself to the fact that, in spite of my best efforts, S has a serious girly streak, I took some time to investigate ballet lessons at local studios. The strongest barre in the world wouldn't have supported me when I learned that most require NINE MONTH COMMITTMENTS to the tune of over $800 (not including shoes, leotards, tutus, recital costumes, etc.).

First of all, signing a four-year-old up for a nine-month committment is akin to asking her to do this forever. I mean, five minutes is a long time in S's world. Secondly, how on earth can I justify that kind of $$$ when she may hate it - correction - she may not like it after a week? Yes, I could sign her up through parks and rec for a "ballet" class, but the purist in me needs the big mirrored wall with the barre and the little girls in their pink leotards (side note: A was VERY upset to learn that boys don't - usually - wear tutus). Maybe start there and if she likes it suck it up for the big leagues? Or keep my fingers crossed that she falls in love with tennis (starting Friday).

Basically, how do you know 1) when your child is ready to start a new activity 2) how many to have going at once 3) when/if to let them stop once they've started (not in general, but in the middle of a series of classes/lessons)? I was the kid who had a very short attention span and liked this for a week and then that the next week - and got to stop when I didn't like it. In retrospect, that probably wasn't a great life lesson - when you grow up there are plenty of things you have to follow through on whether or not you want to do them. Not that the lessons you learn when you're in preschool stick with you throughout life, but I tend to think that unless it's causing some sort of real harm to a child, making him/her see through a (reasonable) committment to something is a good lesson to teach, no matter the age.

Anyone out there with ideas/experience with this?

1 comment:

The Adventurers in said...

I have no experience...but it won't hurt to try the park/rec route first. Try not to get caught up in the DC mentality (if it's worth it, it must be costly ;)