picking a kindergarten, questions to ask? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 05-21-2014, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there 
 
We are deciding where my big guy is going to go to kindergarten in the fall and would love some input.  We live in NYC.  We have a spot at our local school that doesn't have a g & t program.  It's a good, middle of the road school. It is close to home and people generally seem happy there.  He also qualified to apply for a citywide school or district g & t spot.  We opted to apply for a district spot--a g & t program in a school with great teachers and that really focuses on the individual needs of all kids whether in their g & t, gen ed or autism inclusion programs.  We haven't received the offer letter but assume based on his score he will get a spot.  We hear back next week.
 
We plan to meet with the  principals of the two school before making a decisions.  We've only been on tours and want to have another look.  I would love if our local school was a good fit for him.  I like that its a community school, that friends would be close by and we'd be able to walk down the street to get there (the other school would be a 15 min train or car ride away).  However, I am concerned that what happens in the classroom would not being a good fit for him.   He's an energetic guy, a big talker and a big thinker and I am worried that his unique way may not be a good fit for a school that seems pretty traditional in its approach.  And the sense I got on the tour was that they are really teaching to the middle.
 
I'd love to hear suggestions about questions to ask, particularly at our local school.  Anything you wish you would have known?  Things I might not know to ask?  Any ideas appreciated :)
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#2 of 7 Old 05-21-2014, 01:13 PM
 
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I would be sure to ask what they do to provide instruction at the appropriate level to all learners, even those working ahead.  Do they support accommodation by accelerating the curriculum?  Do students have access to a gifted program specialist at the school?  Will they move them up to a higher grade for, say, just math, if appropriate?  If they do accommodate in some way, what are the criteria?

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#3 of 7 Old 05-21-2014, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much!  Very helpful! 

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#4 of 7 Old 05-25-2014, 01:27 PM
 
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The first question I'd ask at this point is: if you refuse the gt program now, is there any chance for him to enter later if the local school ends up unable to meet his needs after all? I remember reading about NYC that it's one shot at K for programs running K thru 5, possibly even K thru 8. Conversely, I d assume that if the gt program does not work out, the neighbourhood school will have to take him. In at any point...
We have found that while " local school" and "neighbourhood community" and " friends nearby" sound great in theory, in practice ds1 had a hard time making friends in the neighbourhood preschool and K program. The elementary he started at in first is a ten minute car ride (its next to the school where DH teaches so not a big deal, and from next year on we'll expect him to take the city bus) and while not a gifted program, is a school with a reputation for very high academic standards and attracts a lot of families who feel their kid would thrive there due to high capability. Socially, it s worked very well for ds1 (now in second) he took a few months to find his feet but has made friends and is part of the group in ways he never was in his old program. He still complains sometimes that he wants more friends in the neighbourhood (only one friend from school lives close enough for him to walk on his own there) but truth be told, the kids in his class probably would not be his friends and the friends he does have in the neighbourhood would not be in his class - they are quite a bit older, or younger, as he is that type of gifted kid that does not well with typical kids his age.
Though entered early and thus the youngest in his class, he is still not challenged, and for middle school we are looking at a program that is even further away...
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#5 of 7 Old 05-26-2014, 10:20 AM
 
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If you take the spot at the G &T school, and it doesn't work out, he can always go back to the neighborhood school. Would the reverse be true? Can he switch to the G & T school from the neighborhood school? I would definately ask it the neighborhood school does any kind of differentiation. If not, and you rely on this as his main form of education, he may not learn anything at all for 2 or 3 years. Our neighborhood schools spend the entire K year learning the alphabet and how to count/write numbers. You may find that he stops trying at school and actually falls behind. The neighborhood school may be a good fit if the K/1st curriculum is in line with where your son is at academically. I would ask to see samples of current K/1st reading and math lessons. Some schools we toured were nice enough to have assignments hung all over the walls. smile.gif
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#6 of 7 Old 06-14-2014, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your responses mamas! Your insights into what to look for and at were very helpful! We ended up opting for the G & T and are feeling good about that choice.
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#7 of 7 Old 07-01-2014, 11:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerle View Post
 He still complains sometimes that he wants more friends in the neighbourhood (only one friend from school lives close enough for him to walk on his own there) but truth be told, the kids in his class probably would not be his friends and the friends he does have in the neighbourhood would not be in his class - they are quite a bit older, or younger, as he is that type of gifted kid that does not well with typical kids his age.
Good point! I am in a similar situation as the OP (agonizing over kindergarten placement for fall) and hadn't thought of this. Maybe it's best to seek out a child's peer group rather than assume the same age neighbor would be a peer. Thanks!

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