Friday, April 30, 2010


Drew will always be my little guy...even if he is the oldest. He's my first baby; and just about the sweetest, most sensitive boy I've ever met. It's a challenge parenting a sensitive child ~ especially one who goes inward when hurt. I seldom know what has set him off when he's upset; and it takes a patient inquisition to unveil the situation. That sensitivity is part of what I love so much about Drew, but also what worries me. I want him to be strong and confident, able to stand up to others for himself, and expressive of his feelings. I don't want other kids to take advantage of him or hurt him. Alas, life is not easy for anyone - and we cannot shelter our children from the world. I can only sit by and support him, help him grow, and hope that together we make the right decisions.

So, speaking of decision, we had a BIG one to make: Where to send Drew to kindergarten.

While our public elementary school is well reputable, we applied to two charter schools. Compass School is where I teach Spanish part time; and I've always loved the community. Their mission is to teach social responsibility and environmental sustainability. The kids are like a big family - and well, I'm there!

Kingston Hill was intended to be a Spanish-English bilingual school. At present, not all of the teachers are bilingual, but Spanish is introduced at all grade levels. However, it is a beautiful, new space with smaller class sizes and a great community.

Both charter school have a random lottery for selection. Drew did not get into the Compass School, but he did get into Kingston Hill Academy. After much deliberation here's how I made my decision:

Why Kingston Hill?

*Full Day Kindergarten
(Drew will be 5 in August, one of the youngest in his grade. Some students will be a whole year older! I feel the full day K could be instrumental in helping prepare him for 1st grade. Plus, he loves learning. What would he be doing home for half the day? Shuffling kids around...playing with his 9 month sister? He'd have so much more fun with friends at school, right?)

*Smaller class size
(Making it an easier transition from the preschool class! And hopefully allowing for a more intimate community.)

*Bilingual approach
(Hey - I'm a Spanish teacher!)

The only disadvantages of Kingston Hill is that Drew is less likely to meet the "neighborhood kids"and the school only goes up to grade 5. So, he's going to have to switch schools (and friends) at some point. My thinking now is that he'll switch in 1st grade - and then go to Stony Lane, our public elementary school. Hopefully he'll be a step ahead academically and the transition won't be too difficult. Otherwise, if we love the school, he can merge with other kids at the middle school level.

I've taken my preschool and Kindergarten choices quite seriously. I am considering the needs of the individual child more than anything...and I hope I'm making the right choices. Sometimes I feel like we're conducting a social experiment here: all three of my kids might end up at different preschools AND different elementary schools. What a trip! But each child is unique, every opportunity new, and we hope to consider their best interests above all!


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