Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Freaking Out About Kindergarten

Well, it's January here in the frozen tundra we call home (and no, I don't even live in New Brunswick or anything- it's just very freaking cold here), of course, what is on my mind but - AUTUMN and BACK TO SCHOOL.

Lana will be starting kindergarten in the fall, and I have it on good authority that if she doesn't have a private school placement by March 1, she will not get one.

No, I do not live in Manhattan. Or Chicago. Or some chi-chi suburb of either one. I'm just a mid-western girl in a city on Lake Erie, and I did not expect this kind of PRESSURE.

It's not that I have anything against public-school. In fact, I'm married to a public school teacher who does a darn fine job educating the public (if I do say so myself.) I have many friends and relatives who are fabulous public school teachers. I support public education. And I am generally happy with the public school district in which we live.

Gabriel attends 2ND grade at the public school.

Need I go on to convince you that I am not anti-public-school?

I think not.


You knew this was coming, right? The big BUT...

BUT, the school district we live in is one of only two school districts in our county that has half-day kindergarten.

Which is, frankly, kind of a pain-in-the-neck for a working mom. And not really what Lana, in my opinion, needs.

Since March of last year, Lana has been in a NAEYC-accredited all-day pre-school program located on the campus of a large university. They have done a phenomenal job with her - she has two awesome teachers in a positive, comfortable setting. Lana is happy there. She loves S~ and S~, her teachers, and she loves her school friends. Her ability to speak English as well as she does is really a testament, I think, to the school and her teachers. Bottom line, I love Lana's current school situation. Gabriel was in the same day-care/pre-school from the time he was a baby until he started first grade. Gabriel did his kindergarten year at the school and it was a great success.

The problem is, there may not be enough children this coming year for the school to have a kindergarten program. Which means I need a second choice.

I'm all freaked out about this. As near as I can tell, our options are as follows:
  1. Hebrew School - although I'm left wondering if it's totally inappropriate for me to send my Vietnamese-American-previously-Buddhist-being-raised-Episcopalian daughter to Hebrew School, merely for the convenience of it having all day kindergarten.
  2. Catholic School - there are two options for all day Catholic school kindergarten near our home. One of them has an extremely inconvenient start and end time, so, it's out. The other one would be okay, except that I have many deep, unresolved issues with the Catholic, just as an example, birth control. I'm all for it, they're not, and I cannot reconcile giving tuition money to them. Does that make me too rigid?
  3. Montessori School - we have an excellent Montessori School option. It is quite expensive, but, I'm leaning in that direction.
  4. Public School in the morning, some kind of after-school day-care program. Honestly, this would be the most convenient for me, but, I am not sure about the after-school program. She would be bussed to a different building from her kindergarten...I'm all in a tizzy about this. I'm not sure it's a good fit for Lana when she has been in one place getting consistent care and lessons from the same people all day, for her to have kindergarten with a brand-new teacher, followed by afternoon care with brand-new care givers...I think it is worth mentioning that this is the option that Lana would probably choose for herself, because she is desperate to go to the same school as her big brother...

Just not sure what to do,

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Blogger Rachel said...

Hmmm...hard decisions. I definitely think #3 and #4 are your best options (as a second choice to your current school). The only thing I am wondering is if she went to a Montessori school for kindergarten, would you send her to the public school for 1st grade? If so, she would be subjected to a new school two years in a row. Where as if you sent her to the public school for kindergarten, she would become familiar with the school and be able to stay there for the upcoming grades without another change.

Of course, still crossing my fingers for you that her current school will have a K class next year!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:24:00 PM  
Blogger Space Mom said...

#3 and #4 are the best choices.

Soleil has all day K (which ends at 3:00pm) so she goes to an afterschool program. SHE LOVES the after school program. I was worried about all of the moving for her, but she loves it. She loves it so much that she's going there for the summer instead of some camp.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 4:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity – is your law firm working under ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment)? I’ve heard that a lot of law firms are looking into this new way of working. The premise is that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, as long as the work gets done. In other words, people in the legal profession don’t need to necessarily be on site to do their work…they can do it from anywhere (take client calls, draft contracts, etc.) at anytime. Under this foundation, you could be at home with your daughter once she was let out of school. The creators of ROWE, Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, have a great Web site and blog at - if your firm isn’t looking into it, it might be worth a look…

Thursday, January 24, 2008 9:47:00 AM  
Blogger maxhelcal said...

I agree with the first two posters and vote for the public school. She can go to the same school as Gabe, not have to go to a "new" school again next year and like Space Mom pointed out, her child loves the after school program. I think most kids do.


Thursday, January 24, 2008 10:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, you don't know me. I'm a law student who reads your blog because i found it on blonde justice and i think its great.

Anyways, I grew up in Cleveland and know quite a bit about the schools in the area. It depends on what school district you are in, but I really think that private or montessori is the way to go. I went to the same private school from 1-10th grade (before i left high school), and my parents never regretted it. I have friends who went to Ruffing Montessori and loved it. There are quite a few good private schools in the area, some of which say they are catholic, but don't really have a strong religious emphasis (Gilmour Academy comes to mind). There are also some completely religious independent private schools such as Hawken or all girls schools such as Laurel or Hathaway Brown.

If you want to email me to talk about it, feel free.

Friday, January 25, 2008 6:43:00 PM  

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