My daughter will be entering kindergarten next and I am strongly considering sending her to a Catholic school.
What I love about our local Catholic school is that is offers a solid basis for a values-centered life. And as a single mom with my daughter's dad completely out of the picture a safe loving community is so critical for both myself and my daughter. My 1st choice Catholic school is amazing. Small class of 18 students per with one teacher and an aid in kindergarten, floating aids for other grades, a beautiful library that is open during recess, lunch, and after-school in addition to the library visits the class takes. Additional classes with specialist teachers including Science, Art, Computers, Music/Drama, Spanish & PE all starting in Kindergarten. The school has two computer and two science labs fully stocked and iPads in every classroom.
What concerns me naturally our my own challenges with the Catholic Church mostly the sexual teachings, the role of women in the Church and of course the horrible sexual abuse scandals. Just wondering if anyone else ---- like me or not ---- is considering sending their children to Catholic school and how it's going. I know my daughter will thrive there I am just nervous at the same time though.
We are not Catholic, but will be sending our DD to a Catholic school when she begins K next year. The public schools in our town have a ton of issues and secular private schools in our area are way beyond our budget (~$40,000/year versus around $8,000 for Catholic school).
The school has excellent programs, small class size, really passionate teachers and a strong community service component which we like. My mom is Catholic and some times DD will attend church with her so she is familiar with Mass (which will be a daily requirement at the school). There have already been some things that have come up where we've explained that Grandma believes something, but mom believes something else and we talk about that. She's aware that she's going to go to a school where some people will believe different things and have different practices than we have at home and that's OK.
At her age, school will teach/reinforce basic values - kindness, respect, etc - nothing controversial. Many of the things (similar to yours) that I disagree with the Church won't be such an issue right now. By the time those might come up, DD will already have several years of discussion and being taught what we believe. Our family and friends are a pretty diverse group so she'll have examples other than Catholic teachings. Catholics don't ordain women, but Auntie G is Priestess and Mrs B is an Episcopalian minster, she knows people who have all different lifestyles, etc. I know several people with older kids in Catholic schools and teasing, etc because of religious differences hasn't been a problem. Also, this school in particular is very big on respecting others and have a strong anti-bullying policy.
Re: the abuse scandals. I've known my mom's priest since I was a child and trust him completely. I've spoken with him and he has very high regard for the pastor of the Church associated with the school. Unfortunately, there were several abuse cases in our area, but parish associated with this school was not involved. I have a huge problem with how the Church handled complaints of abuse, but most priests are just like everyone else - decent people who would never harm a child. The teachers and other school staff are not religious personnel and everyone is subjected to back ground and criminal checks. Even parents, if they volunteer for school events, will have to consent to checks.
Also, if you can swing it, I'd suggest becoming involved with the PTO or volunteering in the classroom, etc. I think that in small schools in particular, it's a good idea for parents to become involved. I think it makes it easier to head off any problems that might come up.
My kids don't go to Catholic school, but I think it is really, really normal to be nervous about sending a child to a new school or to school for the first time. The school you have picked sounds lovely.
but everything has pros and cons
I can't really comment on the elementary school level, but a few of DS's friends have just graduated from a Catholic high school. They included his girlfriend, his best friend and a few members of his garage band. They all seem to have done very well academically and have gone on to excellent universities. I don't notice any issues with gender stereotyping or sexist attitudes. They come from dual income families and their moms have very successful careers. One is a top executive in public television, another is in government. I think role models have been more important in their lives than any outdated ideas they might have been exposed to in school.
His girlfriend won a full scholarship to a top architecture university program. It's highly competitive and still somewhat male-dominated profession, but she's never questioned whether there was a place for her. I don't think she's suffered from church teachings or attitudes about women's roles in that regard.
The school you chose sounds wonderful. We seriously considered Catholic School as we are Catholic and have one that is walking distance from our house. Unfortunately, the school near us isn't nearly as nice as what you are describing and we just couldn't justify the cost when my son got into a great option school that is free. I think you will find that there are many people who send their children to Catholic school for the academic reputation and many of them are non-Catholics. It sounds like you have been very thorough in your decision-making process and that your concerns are out-weighed by the advantages of the school. As far as the sex abuse scandals, I think you need to treat it like you would any other school or environment. These things happen all over the place. You need to educate your daughter and be a vigilant and involved parent. I am sure your DD will be very happy there.
Proud Mommy to my amazing boys (6 and 4) and my precious little girl (18 months).
My children attend a Catholic school and I love it! The sexual teachings and the role of women in the Church aren't usually taught until high school level, because of their nature. As for the sexual abuse scandals, at least in my archdiocese, they are working hard on changing things and in this regard, I feel my children are safer at the Catholic school vs. the public school. Children are never left alone with one adult and any parent volunteering or chaperoning a field trip, MUST take a 2.5 hour class on abuse awareness. You also have to pass a background check. At least in my area, the public school doesn't require any of that and that makes me nervous.
And I'd like to point out that the Catholic Church isn't against women working outside of the home. Some of the members are, but those people are all over, in every religion and atheism.