November 03, 2010

Thinking About Kindergarten

Next week I'll be meeting with a principal at one of the schools I'm considering sending my daughters to next year for kindergarten. I sound so posh, don't I? Like I have all this disposable income to send four children to private school or something. No. I've got three choices: go to kindergarten at the school we're zoned for, apply for open enrollment at the school where they currently attend preschool or apply for the charter school.
At this point I've pretty much ruled out the charter school. It's free and it's all day kindergarten, but I just haven't heard too many great things. 
Next week I'll be meeting with the principal at the school where my daughters currently go to preschool. We're not "zoned" for that school, but it offers tuition-based all day kindergarten. (It's a public school, so it also has free half-day kindergarten). The principal said he wants to "talk" to me about our options, so I'm hoping this means he's thinking about giving me a huge break on tuition so full day kindergarten would be an option. Either way, I want to hear what he has to say and get his take on how to split my daughters up for kindergarten. (The charter school basically said it's their policy to split. My feeling is I should have some say in how it's done). Next, I'll be making an appointment to talk with the principal at the school we're zoned for.
So, all you parents out there... what questions did you ask or will you ask as your children prepare to enter kindergarten?

8 comments:

Mrs. Werginz said...

You are a great mom! My sister met with the principal at the school my nephew is zoned for next year for K. But, she doesn not have 4 to think about so she is just talking to people with children at the school to decide which teacher for my nephew. I hope the principal can cut you a deal...it would be awful to pay 4 full tuitions! yikes!

The Planet Pink said...

What an interesting journey, with four entering school at once! I totally agree that you, as the mother, should have some say or at least an opportunity to weigh the options when it comes to whether you should spilt the girls up or not. We are very fortunate in that the public school we are zoned for is fantastic, so we've never had to face the issue of determining which school would be best for our children. I will say though, as you enter this stage, just know that no decision is permanent. If you choose a school for next year and it just does not work out, you can always try something else. Kids are so resilient. I stressed so much that first year, but now that I'm a few years down the road I know I would have had the freedom to do something different if we needed to and they would have been ok. Good luck to you!

reanbean said...

Hmmm.... that's interesting. Here, I think we only have one option- go to the town's public school (yep, there's just one public school district in our town) or pay to go to private school. Fortunately, our public schools have a good reputation, so we've never given private school any thought.

I'm not sure if these are questions you'd need to ask, but I'm just wondering, do you have any legislation that gives you the right to decide whether your kids get spit or not? In MA, some sort of Twin Bill was passed that gives us the right to keep our twins together, if that's what we wish to do. So, it may be a school's policy to spit up multiples, but it's no longer allowed if the parents want the kids together.

Also, in the town where I used to teach, they have a similar deal for K. It's all day K, but parents pay a portion for the all day program. However, it's technically illegal for public schools to require tuition, so families can decided not to pay the fees and just send their kid(s) 1/2 day. I'm no longer in that system, but from reading the family message boards, I get the sense that there are enough families doing this (maybe a result of the recession, or maybe just their personal choice) that it's not viewed as weird for a kid to attend 1/2 day. Unfortunately, the district was unwilling to make a 1/2 day class for those kids, so their classmates are continuing on without them. But all of the "academics" are in the morning.

Is there a big difference between the school you're "zoned" for and the one your daughters are currently attending?

Quadmama said...

A 1/2 day isn't a huge deal here either. I was just thinking that since they'll have three years of preschool (1/2 day ) under their belt, they're ready for a full day of school. As far as the school we're zoned for and the one they currently attend, it's the same district so it's not a huge difference.
I've looked into it and it doesn't appear my state has passed a Twin Bill, but has considered it. So far, most teachers have been pretty open to letting me have some say in what happens.

cbarnett808 said...

I'm a kdg teacher, & have had some experience with multiples in my classroom. I've only had twins & triplets, but I've never felt the experience was as good as it might've been had they been separated. With twins, I had several identical sets, & truthfully, it took me soooo long to learn to tell them apart that I felt I never really knew them as individuals. With the triplets, they were kept together because we only had 2 classes & it seemed wrong to put 2 in one class & one in another. But again, I felt like the 3 girls--even though fraternal--never really had a chance to have separate identities--everyone always thought of them as a group, & they did, too, which deeply affected their ability to form relationships with other children. When I've just had one of a pair of twins, that child seems to really thrive and come into his or herself. So for what it's worth, that's my opinion as a teacher.
As for what questions to ask, find out what a typical child should know entering kdg in your area. Where I live, most kids know nearly all letters, can count to 20 or more, can rhyme, know shapes, & recognize numbers 0-10 upon entering. Also think about birthdate: I have never experienced a negative impact on a child who waits to enter kdg, say, if his/her birthday is near the cut-off date for enrollment. BUT I have seen MANY kids struggle, both socially & academically by being enrolled in kdg. too soon. Just because they are technically old enough, doesn't mean that's the best choice. It happens every year, & I always have parents who say "I wish I'd held him out another year." But again, each parent needs to decide that for him/hersel;f. I just always recommend that if you have doubts, WAIT!!!!!

Quadmama said...

My girls actually missed the cutoff this year by three days, so I kept them in preschool. I'm happy with the decision. I totally get what you're saying about being seen as individuals, which is why I do want to split them. I just want some say in how it's done. There are only three kdg classes at each of the schools I'm looking into, so I have to figure out how to separate them with what I have to work with.

MaryAnne said...

We haven't started kindergarten yet, so I'm curious to hear how it goes. I'm glad I only have to worry about getting one child settled. At least you have some choices - I'm pretty much stuck with our neighborhood school, which thankfully I've heard good things about. I suppose virtual kindergarten (MA charter school) is an option, but I would consider that a last resort, because I thought the whole point of kindergarten was to hang out with other kids while learning...

Becky said...

Our school district typically splits up multiples. My friend however has had her twins in the same class for pre K, K and now first. She says shell keep it that way until they or her and her husband feel it to be an appropriate time to split. So if you want some or all of your girls together push for it and come armed w good reasons. yes, you are the mom andshould totally have a say! Hope it goes weell!

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