There is a small private school near us that I absolutely fell in love with when dd was a baby. She is currently in a small town, play based public preschool and thriving. The problem is, her preschool isn't in the district we live in. For pre-k, you are allowed to go if you are from the small town it's in, and from the neighboring large conglomeration of towns, which I live in. My town feeds into a very large district that I worked for as a teacher for 3 years, and i am just not that pleased with it for many reasons, though the school itself isn't considered one of the best or the worst in my area... kind of average I suppose.
Well when we reach the end of this year, I am faced with a big decision, which I want to carefully think out. I feel that the formative years of elementary school are important for building a child's image of themselves as a learner. I taught 4th grade, so I got the students after many of them had decided school was boring, or that they weren't good at math, etc. I saw the attitudes towards school that had been built up and it weighs heavily on my mind. What strikes me about the private school is the amazing, fun projects they do (like their annual boat day, where every grade designs and builds a boat out of plastic bottles and the kids get to test them out on a local lake) and how excited the kids seem to be to be there. I only get one chance to do this early childhood thing, and I'm trying to stick to my guiding principals here :)
Sooo, just curious about what others think here. Should I:
1) Lie and send dd to current small town school for kindy, using my in-laws' address. This option makes me a little uncomfortable because I fee like it is dishonest, and if we get "found out," we'll have to pull dd and move her anyway. She would still have to do state testing, and homework and get graded, which are all things I dislike about public school... but she gets to stay with her friends and be in a more nurturing small town school
2) Go ahead and send her to our town's kindy, even though I know very well that I'm not very happy with the curriculum and structure in this district. Maybe I should just lighten up and it won't make any difference one way or another what I end up doing?
3) Try and figure out a way to make this private school work for a few years, just to allow her to do more play-based learning in the early elementary years... even if we end up ultimately back in a more traditionally academic public school setting.
Private school would be a big sacrifice for us. I feel like we could probably shift a few things around and make it work. Especially if I return to work, which I am thinking about doing. What experiences have you had that might help me figure out where to go with this? Do you think it's worth the trouble?The private school has multi-age classrooms, so dd would do kindy, 1st and 2nd all with the same teacher. I was thinking of trying out just kindy to see, and then maybe commit only up to 2nd after that until I see if we can swing it (the school goes up to 8th). Ds is right on her heels, but if I only do K-2, then I can feel like I am giving both kids just a few more years to stretch out and explore before buckling down and hitting the books. That way they also won't overlap one another and be in school at the same time, so I won't have to pay double tuition.