Thursday, December 8, 2016

Choosing a Kindergarten School

It may be early to most of you to think about the next school year. In fact our district I think enrollment doesn't begin until after spring break. However, I'm not one just to settle for the school my daughter is assigned. I want to check out all options. Free options of course, but options none the less.

Well, there is a Montessori school (a free charter school) that started taking applications the beginning of December. I know people have strong opinions about Montessori, but I wanted to check it out to see what may be best for my daughter.

I went on a tour of the school on Wednesday. My hubby couldn't make it, so my good friend Mrs. D came with me.

I had a small list of questions or points I looked over that I wanted to be sure to know about to compare schools.  In no particular order, my list is:

  • Teacher to student ratio
  • before & after care
  • normal day itinerary
  • lunch nutrition
  • homework
  • attire
  • discipline & safety
  • diversity
  • how much outdoor time
  • parent involvement
  • technology used
  • clubs, arts, field trips, etc.

The tour wasn't bad. There were 2 classrooms for kindergartners and there was Spanish and music and art and PE she would learn. And I liked all the tactile learning. The facilities was bright and airy. I liked the feel.

The tour guide was a bit odd. I don't remember if he introduced himself. I wasn't sure who he was. But he seemed nice enough answered our questions. He was a very relaxed personality. He was very matter of fact and talked about the Montessori method a lot. We were on this tour with another parent, so it was a group tour, a bit less personal.

He had to dash as he had another tour and the southern campus and he left. Miss D and I talked outside to quickly surmise our gut intuition and thoughts on the matter.

I don't think Ashton could go wrong going to this Montessori school. My friend Miss D could see Ashton do well here. It could be a good fit. But I don't want to make any decision or opinion until I saw her other school.

So today I got to see her default school, she'd go to an early learning center for Kindergarten, then go do a different school for first grade.

Going there I saw the first snow flurries of the season. It was also the really first bitterly cold day. I hate the cold. Especially, venturing out in it. But this is for my daughter, so I faced the cold. Little did I know parking really sucks at this school and I got a bit lost then had to park far away from the building. Once I got it it took me forever to thaw out.

My husband was able to meet up for this one, which was really nice. The principal gave us the tour. She was very personable and friendly. She asked about our daughter and told us that if we emailed her details about her she would personally see to the best fit among her 11 kindergarten teachers. Rather than just give a tour she'd say Ashton would more than likely do this or her day go like this. She made her tour very personable.

Then my husband teased that I had a list of questions. I said I had a small sheet that I carried yesterday to the Montessori school and here, that I looked at before I headed in to keep my questions fresh in my mind. She told me to pull it out and drill her.

My husband told me not to, but I did. I felt so much better seeing it, as my memory is so bad. So we were there in the cafeteria talking about specifics. And she was awesome about them all. She even compared the Montessori school and what this school does that was either very different or similar to Montessori. She said that school was a great school and Ashton would probably do well at either, but she hoped to meet her and have her go here.

She told me where on the website I could look her up and email her with any questions I may have.

Her enthusiasm for her students and talking about Ashton alone could sell her school over the Montessori. But my husband and I didn't want to just say yes to this school just because she was nicer, and talked about the child more than the school, though a big plus.

My husband and I have been chatting about what may be best for her and where she'd thrive possibly better. There are pluses and minuses to both schools. We'll have to make a decision in one month as that is when the Montessori closes their enrollment. I think we can make a good decision. And I don't think she'd go terribly wrong over the other no matter what we choose. I just love having choices and not feel like I have to go to this one no matter what. And worst case, if she seems to be not doing well, we can always change schools if we need to. At this age it's easier to transition. Heck, I've changed daycares enough ;)

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