Friday, December 16, 2005

Ahhh.. carpool

Our kids get dropped off at school via the car. The unfortunate byproduct of a policy that does not allow pre-K students to ride the bus. Since my son can not ride the bus, we take both kids to school and kick them out without slowing down.

Under orders from yours truly, the kids unbuckle as we round the driveway toward the designated (un)loading area in anticipation of my giving the greenlight to parachute... er, hop out. I try to drill into my daughter the efficiency of opening the door, then hopping out, then dragging her backpack with her.

All this is done with the purpose of speeding up our transition from family transport to mommy & daddy time. Well that and not holding up anyone behind us in the carpool line.

Why then do I see other parents have to stop, get out of their car and help lil Johnny get out of the backseat from the passenger side? And why is it that no other family pulls far enough ahead at the front of the line to allow TWO cars to unload beyond the crosswalk?

I've been spoiled the last 8 years I know. My children's preschool had the most efficiently run carpool I've ever been party too. They've got teachers scouting about 30 cars down the roughly 200 vehicles who radio in to the 'board' the carpool number next in line. There, the number is put on a dry-erase board and a runner sent to retrieve the kids for that carpool, indicated by a card in a file that lists the children associated with that number, their room number, etc... Kids are held in a staging area where the loaders then whisk them to their car, now in front of the building. Once loaded the card goes back into the 'picked-up basket' and the number on the dry-erase board is wiped off.

Think of it as preschool-fighter command, much like the WWII RAF command and control set up directing resources to meet the arriving Luftwaffe. A very well run endeavor.

Granted, this is our elementary school's first year utilizing a similar system, but boy can they do it better. Not to mention that the kids are older and ought to make it easier. They can get into the car by themselves and you can forget about the child car seats too. In fact, that may be part of the problem. Maybe the school staff sparsely man the carpool line because the kids can do it (mostly) themselves.

But, for safety's sake, and because my drive time alone with the Mrs. is precious, I wish we could speed it up a little.

Do you carpool? Next year, we'll kick both kids out at the bus stop and be on our merry way. I guess it won't matter. Guess it's kind of like my pet peeve about people hesitating at green lights. How much time could I save (only to waste it later volutarily) if people would accelerate together through a green light?

I mean, there are blogs for me to read people! And I haven't got all day! :P