Tuesday, February 14, 2012


As your child approaches that "school age," it's hard not to think about where you'll want to send him/her. It's hard to choose which path will be the best one for him/her to follow...public or private? Will it be your neighborhood school or will you opt in and transfer to a district where you teach? It's difficult to judge whether starting young or waiting until age 6 is the right thing to do. But at the end of the day, Kindergarten sure does sneak up you even when you know it's coming and you know it's time and you know your child is more than ready. It still doesn't make it any easier to wrap your head around. Frankly, it makes me feel a bit sad and often wondering how my little girl is growing up so fast.

As a teacher, I often have found myself weighing the pros and cons of half day vs. full day, age 4 1/2 or age 6, public or private, go with friends or start somewhere fresh, curriculum, state test scores, demographics, philosophies, mission statements, parent involvement, and so much more. In a sense, we have been lucky that this has snuck up on us. Thankfully, we were able to choose the path we felt would be best for Brynn and our family fairly quickly. After an Open House visit, discussions with our daycare director and Vice Principal, and some e-mail exchanges, we decided that private school was the right choice. Teaching in a couple of different public schools and peer tutoring w/ my Leadership students at a local elementary school within my school district helped me reach that decision without feeling too guilty about it.

Yes, I am a public school teacher. Yes, I believe that public school education can be and is valuable. Yes, I believe that it's important to expose our children to a variety of experiences and a diverse student body. I believe that there are times when the Catholic Church's view is a bit skewed. I believe in my heart that in the end, no matter what school she attends, she will earn a good education...a big piece of a child's educational experience is directly connected to their home life and parent involvement (in my opinion). I know there are plenty of great public schools and public school teachers. In fact, I think many public school teachers are amazing and have the ability to adapt and teach in a variety of situations. They're tough and realistic. But at the same time, I am willing to give private education a shot. It's a small school, small class sizes, and the cost is significantly lower than daycare. They have before and after school care, so I don't have to figure out babysitters or a new kind of daycare arrangement. It feels like a little community, and in a sense, like a small town. Everyone is helpful, friendly, and genuinely nice. It didn't feel like it was all about the money or who had this or didn't have that. It just felt very friendly and welcoming. It felt right. I knew that they would take care of Brynn in a way that would make her feel special and loved. I felt connected before we even became a part of the school. And most importantly, we love the values that are instilled in the children early on. It just makes a lot of sense at this point early on in her education.

She is ready. This girl is reading. She exhibits and uses many different kinds of math skills...she can add, subtract, identify and create patterns. She socializes well with others and loves her teachers. She is studious and listens well. She remembers what she has learned and can apply it to other situations. This girl can write all of her letters upper and lower case. She can write her numbers 1-100. She can recognize numbers higher than 100 and can count for days. She is ready for full day Kindergarten. She says she is ready for "church school" as she refers to it.

What are we a little apprehensive about....um...
A. They're not too flattering.
B. They are not very fashion forward.
C. There aren't many options.
D. They're actually kinda pricey.
E. They don't allow boots. Seriously? Not even Uggs? :(

--Fund Raising and Parental Volunteer Expectations
A. I'm a teacher too.
B. Dj travels.
C. There never seems to be enough hours in the day.
D. I advise ASB. It takes a lot of my time.
E. No family close by and hoping I don't have to rely on sitters when there are parent meetings.

She'll attend testing next week, so it will be interesting to see how she does. I know she'll do great, but of course, it's hard to be a child when your mom is a teacher. I wonder how she'll compare to other students. I know she's MORE than ready, but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing/hearing the results.

I hear that once your child enters Kinder, that life just gets really REALLY busy. Is this true? I guess we shall see. Until then, here's to hoping that she'll love her new school and her brother will be able to function without her next year, as they will be separated for the first time in 4 1/2 years. That might be at the same caliber of heartache as walking her into her classroom for the first time.


chrissyrudd said...

We had it easy. Our public school district is huge and was 20 minutes away. However, the little school attached to our church was just a block away. It IS our community school. While Jeremy was backed up about the money, (which ended up being the same price as a sitter) and the Catholic factor, we fell in love with the preschool program, the teachers, the parent support, and the community feel. The public school has elementary class sizes of 30. At the private, preschool was 15, with an aide, and Kindergarten is only 5! So to private school they'll go until 7th grade, when we have to make another decision. I tell you the best thing for our spoiled diva is the uniforms! This has saved us many an argument over whether the outfit is pink enough, or frilly enough! And, after shopping this last weekend and seeing all the clothes, we realize it has saved us a butt load of money!
About the sibling factor, Emily was heartbroken, especially when her "boyfriend" at the sitter left for preschool M-W and she goes Th-F. She was suddenly the oldest at the sitter M-W, and she couldn't understand why her sissy got to go 5 days and she could only go two, as 3 year-old preschool is 2 days a week! She really acted out for about 4 months, throwing fits, regressing on potty training, ending up in time out every day! Now she is in a rhythm, and is the sitter's "best" helper in the kitchen with special jobs to get lunch, dinner, snacks and baked goods ready. And she can't wait to be a big girl like her sister and go to school more days next year, 4 days for 4 year-old preschool.
I hope Brynn has a great experience. In the end, it's all about what is best for your kiddo, and it's great you can have that choice. Because, I'm sure you're like me, and you'd do anything to make sure they get the best education they can!

Tyler-Ashlee's Mommy said...

Wow, she knows a lot!! Tyler can't read yet, but he's trying. He can do the other things...except sitting still :) hehe (he can do that but he's a boy and well, you know...)

We have one of the best public school systems in the country here so we didn't even second guess ours! If we were in DSM, we might be thinking differently....