The school year is under way! Whether you have a child in school, one in pre-school, or one on the way, you will eventually have to make choices about where/if to send your child to school. We thought we would bring you the perspectives of a few local moms, regarding how they chose the school path they did for their children. First up, Dr. Linda King, who chose to send her child to private school.
What kinds of factors did you consider before choosing private school for your child?
We had chosen private school for our child starting with a montessori program when she was 18 months old. We felt a learning environment where they can have structure and play and explore was a better alternative than traditional day care. They had a different structure at the school which was toddler and early childhood then continuing to late childhood development.
The children were learning different things like different languages- spanish and american sign language along with healthy eating and a whole world approach to education and how things were integrated.
Due to the instability of the school and teachers at the montessori school, we chose a local private school for her pre-k education versus staying at the montessori school. We did not visit different facilities other than the montessori. The location was close to our home. The facility was unbelievable. They were teaching them music, art and computers in the pre-k program. They were learning power point presentations and word documents in the program and also offered piano lessons.
How much did cost differences between schools factor into your decision?
Cost differences were not that different when it came to the montessori program- mainly because they wanted us to do fundraising because the cost of the tuition did not fully pay for the education- which really put me out.
What kind of process did you have to go through to enroll you child?
We went through an interview and a screening process to enroll her.
What about the school you chose makes it the best for your child/family?
We kept her there through the pre-k, kindergarten and first grade because of the level of integrity of the teachers, the involvement with other parents and the communication between the teachers and the parents is top notch. There is always something coming home about what they l learned, how they performed and how their week is and different levels of progress. Also, we felt very safe because of how the school is situated and the levels of entry – I feel no one would be able to just walk in there and do anything harmful. It is very clean and organized. The restrooms for the students were inside of the classrooms which make it safe for the students.
What tips do you have for other parents that will be making this decision in the future?
I think what parents need to make a decision about this is different costs and where your child is going to be in a learning environment with other children in order to make them stretch their abilities and brains. Kids marinate with other kids around them. They strive to be like their friends and when their parents care about their education enough to pay for it- it becomes an important part of their life. It is also good for us to have a faith based process My husband and I both grew up going to catholic schools where we have discipline, structure and focus. Some argue that it can kill creativity so I believe that we can definitely keep a creative part in encouraging art and play time to just be a kid during part of the day. We wanted to send our child some place where she looked forward to going to school each day and when it came time for kindergarten – she begged us to go to this particular school for her education. She really enjoys it there – the teachers, the facility and the program.
Other factors you have to budget for are uniforms, different “donations” of art supplies, tissues, etc – but I have found most public schools now require parents to bring in soap, paper towels and different supplies.