As Mr. C quickly approaches Kindergarten, we soon have to decide where he is going to go to school. It’s a common conversation among the parents we know around town. Whenever I run into another parent of a kid about four years old, we end up talking about what we’re going to do about school next year. Yesterday I met two other parents at a local indoor playground place, (a great thing to have nearby when it’s about five below zero outside), and while our kids played, we spent most of the time debating the school choice question. That would be for close to four hours on that one subject. Earlier in the week, I ran into another parent at the grocery store, and while we just spoke briefly, it was entirely about school choice. I used to think that the parents who spent a lot of time preparing for kindergarten were too concerned with something that I thought was a minor detail. After all, all kindergarten programs must all be the same. I could not have been more wrong. Now that I’m a parent, I think the more common fear is not so much trying to pick the absolute best kindergarten possible, but trying to make sure you don’t make a huge mistake and end up with your son or daughter hating school, or exhausted from a program that is not appropriate for them. We live in a mid-sized city, so there are a few choices available. We are also allowed to request to attend a school in a different part of town if we want. Some schools are better than others, and there are entire websites dedicated to ranking the individual schools.
There are so many more choices now, compared to when my parents were getting ready to send me off to school. A public school ? A private school ? A full day program ? Or half-day ? If half-day, morning or afternoon ? If a public school, which one in the district ? The one close by, which has failed the federal “No Child Left Behind” requirements, or the one further away in the nicer part of town, which has also failed, but hasn’t failed as badly ? If a private school, which kind ? Religious ? Non-Religious ? A Montessori school ? A Waldorf school ? Then there’s all kinds of specialized programs that emphasize one thing or another, ‘Arts’ schools, ‘Nature’ schools, ‘Music’ schools, there’s probably even a ‘Sports’ school somewhere. All this just for kindergarten.
The friend I ran into at the supermarket was really considering signing up for the private kindergarten, forty five minutes away, at a cost of $28,000 for the year. Despite the fact that both he and his wife are not employed full time at the moment and are getting by on short term and part-time jobs. He’s not really going to go ahead and sign up, but this is how concerned the parents I know are.
Oh boy, here we go, registration starts tomorrow! Anxiety and nervousness will continue like this through College, I guess!