Where should I send him to Kindergarten? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 03-06-2003, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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May I ramble here??

I have a very bright 4-1/2 year old son. He's been tested and is in the 98-99% range for most things. His testers from the school district said he's one of the brightest kids they'd ever seen & as far as they were concerned, he'd already completed kindergarten.

He is now in a half day Montessori preschool. It is his first school experience. He didn't want to go, but has enjoyed it since the first day. He can remain there one more year for kindergarten or switch to the public school.

I am in a quandry about what to do. We visited the public school last night & were fairly pleased. It is new and very pretty. DS actually liked it.

Both the public school and the Montessori would be half-days, mornings, so that is not a factor.

The Mont. school is $245/month, while the public shool is free. $245 is a ton of money for us, but we COULD manage somehow.

DS likes the Mont. school and wants to stay there, but then again, he also seemed to like the public school. Am guessing he'd adapt to it.

The public school is a 10-minute drive, the Mont. is 20 minutes. DS could also ride the bus to public school if his mama got over her fears!!

We are happy with the Mont. school and dh says why not give him another year where he is happy & getting a good education. The public schools in my state leave a lot to be desired.

I wonder if he stayed at the Mont. school one more year, then swtiched, would it be harder on him to move to a more traditional environment after having 2 yrs of Mont???

We also have the option of moving to a better public school district, which is somewhat realistic, but a huge decision.

Does this make any sense? Can anyone offer any clarity?
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#2 of 9 Old 03-06-2003, 01:40 PM
 
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Gosh, that's really tough.
Our district has one school that's devoted to the gifted which would've offered you one more choice.
Montessori can be so wonderful, but it isn't necessarily that much better than a good public school. I'd govisit the pub. school he'd attend. Be really positive w/the principal and teachers; ie. you think it could be such a great experience for your son and could you visit the class for a morning just to get a feel for it since you have to decide and thank you, etc etc....
Don't demand a separate curriculum for him, but ask how she could challenge someone who finished all of his tasks ahead of time; ie. does she have independent or small group reading programs? Are most of the projects whole or small group?

I have an incredibly gifted little boy this year and he's actually being challenged inclass. And, when we do have whole group lessons that are too easy, I give him a special "job" or a pass to the library to check out "special books."
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#3 of 9 Old 03-06-2003, 11:14 PM
 
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One of the things that came to my mind is that if you left him at the MOntessori for another year, you'd have a clearer idea of his capabilities with another year of development and maturity under his belt.

If you waited until 1st grade for public school, the social connections might become more important. It might be possible to arrange some play time with classmates he'd be with at the public school. I have found that children seem to be already settling into friendships that endure by 1st grade.

 
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#4 of 9 Old 03-08-2003, 09:28 PM
 
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I just went through this!! I will tell you our experience. Dd had been in Montessori for two years and I was not sure whether to send her there for K or to public school. I agonized over the decision all last year and most of the summer. I loved our Montessori but it was $4500.00 for three full days and two half days, a schedule that had worked wonderfully for us the previous year. Public school was of course free but was half days, I wasn't crazy about half days because Dd is very social and I thought she and I would go crazy. Money was a huge issue because although I had the money from income tax, Dd is from a previos marriage and her father does not pay support. My current partner is not thrilled with private school so if she was to attend Montessori I would have to pay for it. To make matters more complicated I had baby in June and was cutting back my hours to only one day a week so needless to say I really could of used that money. Anyways in the end I decided to keep her at Montessori for one more year(knowing I could never afford elementry program) Everyone said I wouldn't regret it she would get so much out of her K year there. Well as the year progressed I didn't see a whole lot of anything special. Let me clarify, the normal wonderful aspects of Montessori were apparent but academiclly nothing special. It's only kindergarten so that didn't really bother me except that I was using up any extra money I had and money was/is tight with me only working one day a week. Then some things happened at the school I wasn't to happy with and I knew when I was begrudingly writing those checks every month it was time to take her out. But I still wasn't sold on public school. I seriosly considered Waldorf because I have always loved that school but its about 40 minutes away and also very expensive. In the end I decided to switch her to public school. She has been there about three weeks and loves it. So far I am also happy. They do alot of really neat things. They work on a lot of reading and writing and also have time for play. They go to the library, have gym, computer, and have 4th grade buddies. There is no music or art in K but we do that at home. Being such a social kid I think the structured atmosphere of public school is good for Dd.
Dd has transitioned well ( she has always been a very adaptable child). She is having difficulty adjusting to the different ways of doing things. We have to work on writing in a straight line and writing letters the way everyone else does. This gets frustrating for Dd because at Montessori there was not really a "right" way to do things. They are pretty strict at our p-school about writing styles. This is not a huge issue but it is a little challenging. I know we will get over this small hurdle but I sometimes I think I could've made things easier on her had I just sent her to public school from the start.
I don't know if this is an option for you, but some parents send thir kids to public school and Montessori. I had considered this last year but thought it would be to much running around. I kind of wish I would have done this because she would have gotten used to the new way of doing things along with the other kids but still got the wonderful social aspects of montessori and it would have been less expensive. I love Montessori schools and do not regret sending her there, it has helped shape her into the caring, thoughtful, respectful,individual that she is If I had to make the decision over again and I knew she was not going to attend Montessori for elementry I would either just send her to Public school or done half day public, half day Montessori.

Oh by the way I really enjoy having her home more. I chose PM K because she is more mellow in the AM so we enjoy taking our time getting out of bed, cuddling with the baby and slowly getting ready for school. Then she rides the bus home with her friends and can play with them after school. So it's working real good for us!! Good luck!I hope my lengthy experience gives you some insight although it may not be the right choice for you. Let me know what you decide!!!
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#5 of 9 Old 03-08-2003, 09:37 PM
 
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OOps I should have proof read my post. I'd fix it but that post took me forever, as I am fairly new to computers and my neck is screaming. Sorry!!!
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#6 of 9 Old 03-09-2003, 01:24 AM
 
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Definitely visit your public school and find out what they offer. Then you won't be second guessing yourself because you'll be able to compare the two schools and the things that they'll offer your child. Don't think that public school can't provide good opportunities for gifted children. In our area, the local kindergarten can range from amazing to awful, depending on the teacher and the offering of half-day/full-day classes. I have visited one of the local Montessori schools and I wouldn't pay 50 cents for their alleged education. The other one is amazing, though, and I am seriously considering it for my son, though my daughter went to the local public school for kindergarten. Each child is different, and each classroom is different as well.
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#7 of 9 Old 03-09-2003, 05:08 PM
 
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My dd attended a very good Montessori preschool for two years and went on to a charter school for K. Our state charter schools are funded by the state, and thus still a public school and FREE, but they also get to have their own choice of curriculum and philosophy. Is that a choice where you live? DD transitioned well from the Montessori school. The school has advanced reading programs for every grade. I'm happy with our school choice, dd's K class is doing 1st grade math and has weekly spelling tests (!) and reading groups, science, spanish, PE, music and an art program. They have free choice time and Fridays are Fun Fridays, that is, no folder work. I guess the bottom line is, if you can find a good charter school, they are usually more challenging than a regular public school. Our 8th graders are testing at 2nd year high school spanish this year. Pretty impressive I think.
Good luck, I remember having to make that decision...
Kelli
Mom to Emily 5 1/2
Cal 18 mos.

 Mommy to Emily (16), Cal (12) and Claire Bear (3)
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#8 of 9 Old 03-10-2003, 10:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, how I wish you were all here to have a cup of coffee with me and discuss this properly! It is funny to think so many people are going through the same thing as we are right now (or have been though similar).

I think I will call the school and ask if I can maybe sit in on a class and talk to the K teachers. What should I asK? I don't at all want to appear that I am "dissing" them or the school--I mylsef went all 12 years to public school, and I certainly don't want to come off as challenging them, you know? I just want a clear idea of what will be taught, and some notion of how they'd deal with Colin.



Thanks so much!!
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#9 of 9 Old 03-10-2003, 11:12 PM
 
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Most public schools these days should have "curriculum maps" that show what each grade is learning in what subject. If they have those that should take care of the academics.

When you are visiting the classroom, look, listen, smell and taste with your senses for the feeling of it all.....is it joyful? is it positive? do kids seem to feel valued? are they rushed? is there enough time for transitions? is there sunlight? fresh air? does the teacher seem to like kids? (you'd be surprised...) how are behavioral reminders handled? what tones of voice are used? can kids get around the furniture easily (the flow of things)? are boys and girls challenged the same or differently? are there themes? are there projects? does positive feedback get shared with the children? what books are they reading? does TV ever get played in the room? how are specials handled (art, music, phys. ed.)? what is the relationship like between the teacher and the children-- the best behaving child and the worst behaving child?

These are just a few questions that pop into my mind. Hope they are helpful. Good luck!

 
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