We are fortunate to live within walking distance or a short bus ride from high-quality daycare and preschool programs. But unlike with the local elementary school, there’s no guarantee that you will get in. That’s the situation we’re in with the preschool closest to our house. It’s great!

But the entry point is the toddler room. There are 10 spaces in the infant room, and 18 in the toddler room. Both the infant and toddler room are located separately from the preschool, at a site about two miles directly south of our house, and not along the way. We got into the infant room, but in the end, we could not afford it. The tuition was hard enough, but the costs of transportation would have done us in if we wound up buying a second car because we couldn’t commute to both daycare and work reliably using the bus. We passed and asked to be placed in the wait pool for preschool, which is located 1/2 block from our house, even though this turned out to be a major gamble.

So, we’ve applied to another preschool not quite on the radar of people we know (those people we know from urbanists, and going to college at places like Pomona and Smith) It’s not fancy. It’s not NAEYC-accredited. But it’s along the way to my husband’s job, and on the bus route with frequent service. (See the theme?) And we feel very good about this school. But what if neither of these programs pan out? Well, there is a plan C. It’s in our price range. But it’s not along the way. We’ll discuss how we’ll manage that in another blog post if it comes to it, because I am honestly not sure.

Ironic and interesting right? Santa Monica has some of the priciest market-rate housing around. A family looking to move here for the schools needs to clear at least $100,000 a year to afford the rent on a barebones 2-bedroom rental apartment. (The county household median is just $61,000.) Moving to Santa Monica is not for the faint of heart. We are incredibly lucky, and privileged, to be here in this place where we can also live very comfortably without driving a car. Very lucky indeed.

Check out my primer (“Wilshire and Mommy’s Excellent Transit Oriented Adventures”) for pointers on some of my favorite places to take Wilshire on public transportation.

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