We are working to determine where we will enroll our daughter Kendall for Kindgergarten next year. She is currently in a private preschool that offers care/education through Kindergarten. We also just recently toured the three catholic schools in our area and will attend the open house for the public school. As part of this process, we plan to put together a list of the pros/cons for each option. However, we are seeking some advice from been there /done that parents.
Is there any questions you think we should be asking (other than the obvious, times, cost, etc)?
What has been your experience and do have any words of wisdom / advice to offer?
Thanks in advance,
I think it's useful to know what math curriculum they are using, if any.
What Language Arts (English) curriculum they are using, if any.
Do they offer penmanship and what program?
What is their gifted and talented program like?
How do they approach Gifted and talented in math?
What is their approach for children that are behind?
What is their homework policy? When does homework start (Kindergarten or 1st)
How often do they have gym?
How long for lunch?
How long for recess?
What is their misbehavior policy (time outs, miss recess, stay after school, etc)
How many kids per class?
How many kids in the school?
Are their other adults in the classroom?
How do they feel about parent volunteers?
Do they have state test scores to share with you (No Child Left Behind, etc)
My piece of advice is that whatever you choose for kindergarten, you're not stuck there forever. We moved our son in the middle of 1st grade because the great school for Kindergarten was not great for 1st grade. We feel like we made a bad choice but were able to correct it.
The only time you feel "stuck" is for language immersion programs. You can't generally get into them after Kindergarten, unless you have the language skills already, or a highly motivated child.
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Joseph stillborn 01/08/2007
Ask to come for a visit when it's not just an Open House.
I would also say, go along at home time to 'visit' start up conversation with the parents, and casually ask how they are finding the school. Once you have a 'short-list' for schools I would do this a couple of times if they allow.
Another thing to think about is, what is important to you in education? Write down a list and see how your philosophy of teaching and learning matches up with the school's/kindy teacher's philosophy. You can ask the teacher for a written copy of his/her teaching philosophy. When reading it, look for not necessarily what it DOES say but what it DOES NOT.
For example: a big part of my teaching philosophy is that i believe that parents are children's first teachers and I believe that they are the people who know their children best. When I was looking for a school for my DSS it was very noticeable to me when a teacher didn't place the same amount of importance on communication with parents as I do. I was silly enough not to go with my instincts on this and we ended up with a teacher who was a nightmare to communicate with.
I hope you find a school that is perfect for your children, its such an exciting time!!