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kindergarten already

Next week are sign ups for kindergarten at Jordan's preschool. I think it is awfully early to have to register. But the Catholic school that we are also considering sending J to has early sign ups as well. I was really hoping to delay this decision until at least April, but I may not be able to.

Jordan's preschool teacher said she is ready for kindergarten as a next step. Part of me wanted the teacher to say that she was not, so I could feel good about not sending her only a few days after she turns 5. After all, this is going to be quite a transition going from two days of preschool and extended care (plus two days at an at-home daycare). But if she is supposedly ready, should I hold her back? I am almost decided on keeping J at her current school, where she would go to kindergarten for 2.5 hours a day as opposed to the 6.5 hours a day kindergarten at the Catholic school, which is actually about $135 cheaper a month because of fewer extended care hours needed. (Half-day kindergarten is not for kids of working parents!) But as much as I love her current school, they are pretty inflexible about their extended care. You pay by the hour and will be charged $1 per minute for any minute over your scheduled time. I can understand having that policy for people who show up at 6:05 when the place closes at 6 (though I would hope they would give you a couple minutes grace period). But if I am to drop my kid off at 8 a.m. and I show up at 7:57, am I supposed to wait in the hall with J so as not to get charged $3 extra dollars?! Since kindergarten is in the p.m., I will have to drop Jordan off for extended care in the morning, so this could be an issue.

The other things in favor of J's current school are that she knows the place, she will know some of the kids, she will be easing into five days with a shorter day, and she potentially won't have to go a different school for just one year of kindergarten, which could happen if we sell our house sometime in the 2008-9 school year. And, we will still get to spend some time together on "Mommy-Daughter Day"; I don't think I am ready to give that up yet...

Comments

Berm said…
Faith:

Speaking as a school principal, you are not alone in your thoughts and concerns with deciding on a the best program your little one. We don't have the half day/full day issue in MD now that all kindergarten programs are full day. Our pre k parents deal with the 1/2 day struggle but parents have the choice of not sending them since it is not mandatory.

We decided to send Katie to kindergarten a year early this year and we struggled with this decision. Her bday is at the end of Dec. and our cutoff is Sept. 1 down here. Our district allows kids to be tested and if they qualify, they can enter as long as their bday is before Jan 1. Since she already had the equivalent of 2years of pre k in a daycare center, we thought it was useless to have her do it again. Looking at it now, was a great decision but will see later since she is one of the youngest in her class.

I see positives with both of your options. I am sure one of your concerns is that J may have trouble adjusting to the all day kindergarten program. Many parents worry about them being tired, etc. I think it has been the best for our area. The students adjust better than the parents and we see them much better prepared for 1st grade. The hours is really a non issue.

The 1/2 day program has a lot of advantages with comfort and socialization. Knowing that J knows other kids and the place will help her adjust to a more "formal" setting. Don't worry, she if you send her to the full day program, she will make friends quickly.

My best advice is to visit both places for an entire day/session to see the daily program and routine. Is a pain to take a few days off to do it but maybe it will help. Look to see how much time is spent on direct instruction compared to down time. A full day program can be disguised as a glorified half day program in some cases.

Not sure if I helped or not but wanted to give you the perspective of a principal/dad.

BTW...Cris says hi!
Facie :-) said…
Berm (what is that about?!), thanks for the comment. I was in the same boat as Katie, having a December b'day and starting 1st grade at 5 (I never went to kindergarten). But as you know, kindergarten today is not what it once was, which bothers me.

Good advice about visiting both places for a good bit. The 15 minutes I spent in Catholic school class (outside of the tour) did not impress me as I had hoped, but that was not enough time. I was bothered that it was Friday and they had not done a date/calendar exercise since the Friday before.

I have heard about kids adjusting well to full day, and I have little doubt it will be tougher on me. The other thing I tell myself is if I do send her to half day and it does not work out, I can send her to full day the next year.

Thanks and tell Russ hi back. Miss you guys!
Facie :-) said…
I spent a good bit of time in the 2.5-hour kindergarten today, and feel really good about, so I signed Jordan up. (Not so good about the price, mind you.) But I think we are making the right decision leaving Jordan at her current school and going with the short days. 8/10 kids in this class can read, and I like that there is a teacher plus an aid, so that seems pretty good. Also, the mother of one of Jordan's current classmates is a teacher, and after reviewing the curriculum (as a former teacher, it is a shame I am probably not spelling this word correctly), she signed her kid up.

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