Monday, April 28, 2014

Choosing A Kindergarten, Ready for Graduation: Looking at the "Long Haul"

As I've written about before, when my oldest son was ready for kindergarten, I was choosing between the local Hebrew Day School, our local public school, and Ann Arbor Open.

On the side of the Hebrew Day School: all-day kindergarten; small classes; an immersion language curriculum; and a school that was willing to let us sit in on classes and observe.

On the side of Ann Arbor Open: multi-age classrooms; progressive education; and the requirement to volunteer and observe a classroom.

On the side of our local public school: basically, nothing, even though it has a stellar reputation, because I had myself experienced and loved "open" education. It had the same negatives as Ann Arbor Open (half-day kindergarten and larger class sizes than the private school) and--in my opinion--none of the positives. I couldn't sit in on a class there, and kindergarten roundup was very unsatisfying.

To round things out, my husband was a strong public schools proponent and thought we should try the public schools first.

That was then...

In any case, I was reminded of this the other day when I heard someone say they were choosing between a private school or the new Northside STEAM program but were wondering about who the teachers would be at the STEAM school.

[Funny--I just realized I was never worried about the teacher quality at any of the schools I considered.]

I was giving the biggest weight to the full-day kindergarten.

One day I was talking to my colleague Cheryl, whose kids went to the Open School and were much older (like, fifth or sixth grade!)--and she said,

"Ruth, kindergarten is only eight months long. 

You have to look at the long haul!"

And so I did. 

That was the best advice I ever got about choosing a school. If you don't want to be someone whose kids change school every year or two, then you need to think about the long haul.

Gabe and me: This is now!

Maybe because that conversation is embedded in my mind, it's hard to believe that this weekend, the little kid I was worried about then graduated from college.

Time flies when you're having fun!

(Just for fun: You can read a piece Gabe let me publish a few years ago when he was still in high school.)

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1 comment:

  1. I've tried to express this sentiment to people before, but not quite as succinctly or eloquently. Hope to remember it next time I have a conversation along these lines!