Waiting for school placement

Are there any of you still waiting to find out about school placements/acceptances for your children for next year?

I did not talk about our wait (for a NYC public school Kindergarten spot) online because I thought (and still think) it could come back to bite me (the long arms of the internet being what they are).But we got a spot last week.

I still don't think I should talk about it. I'm still a little shell-shocked, actually. I know I was kind of paralyzed on a lot of fronts, not knowing where my baby was going to school.

Is anyone else still in limbo? Preschool? Kindergarten? Older grades? (College?)

59 thoughts on “Waiting for school placement”

  1. Could someone explain this for those of us not in the know? Children in the city have to vie for spots in public school? What happens if they don’t get in?

  2. Congratulations! I know that’s a big deal in NYC.Our only up-in-the-air-ness is due to my own dithering. My son is born on the kindergarten cutoff date. Eleven hours later, and I wouldn’t be dithering at all, the decision would be made for me.
    But again, congrats to you! That’s wonderful news.

  3. All set with Mouse continuing on to first grade – and so grateful to not be dealing with that this year.@Another Mommy, usually it’s for spots in particular public schools – SF where I live has a citywide lottery where you can apply to any school (proximity gives you some priority but not much). I think NY has a complicated system of lotteries and rules too.

  4. Kinda very glad there is no school choice in my town! They have it in the next town over, and it drives the parents into a neurotic frenzy. Yes, the parent may know what is best for their child, but since they only have a slight chance of getting their choice anyways, all it really does is make people unhappy.As for college, I think the parents get way too het up about that as well. It really is possible to treat the process as not a life or death decision.

  5. Well, I’m DONE with my daughter’s current pre-school. I’m not impressed with the response to my discussion with the Director about seeing 3 kids starting to pick on my daughter (and I think we can all agree that the start of bullying at age 3-4 is RIDICULOUS and should be addressed IMMEDIATELY). So we’ve started looking hardcore for new pre-schools. However, we ideally want one that will also take my son after he turns 1. And we’re having trouble finding one that will.Why does this all have to be so hard so soon? Why does the Montessori school have to be so expensive? Why don’t they take 1 year olds? I’m really getting stressed.
    @DC area people – Having a meet up this Saturday at the Playseum in Bethesda! Swing by my blog and let me know if you can make it!

  6. @caramama- have you tried turning your search around, and looking first for a day care that will work for your son, and then evaluating the preschools associated with those day cares?If nothing else, it will narrow your search… Personally, I don’t think I would consider anything BUT a center that can take both of my kids- the end of the day is stressful enough without having to stop and do two day care pickups. (Yes, I know that this is coming when my oldest starts actual school while my youngest is still in day care, but LA LA LA LA I’m not listening.)

  7. @caramama — yes, WHY does the Montessori school have to be so expensive? Why do I feel like spending the money is choosing between preschool and college?Anyway, I’m so excited to say I can make it to the Sat meetup, but I’m not so sure that your blog took my comment letting you know that we can come.

  8. My daughter has a guaranteed place at her bro’s kinder in September. Yay!!! We were hoping to get her in when she turned 3 in January, but she was too far down the wait list seeing she was born 6 days after the cut off. Now I can’t believe I will have both kids off my hands in September. After 5.5 years, liberation begins!! What do liberated mothers do with their time? That really is retorical,btw, but I find myself asking it again and aagain.

  9. Got in to the public K we wanted, thanks to sibling preference. I knew it shouldn’t be a big deal, but I am not one to relax prematurely.

  10. we are still waiting on preschool news. we’re on two waiting lists. i am hoping we’ll get into the one where my son’s good friend will be, but we’ll just have to wait and see. i’m trying not to think about it, otherwise i get more stressed than i am already and that doesn’t help anybody.

  11. Wow, this makes me appreciate Los Alamos, where I love my kids’ preschool (I’m actually working there very part-time for the tuition cut), and elementary school is a no-brainer. Then again, we did buy the specific condo that we did so that we could be a block away from said school and in “its district.”@caramama, not Montessori here, but um, yeah — it’s going to feel like a huge family raise when our elder hits K in August. Since she’s one of those just-after-the-cutoff kids, it feels like a long, long wait.

  12. Timely – we just got DS into a lovely Montessori pre-school for September. I’m so excited. I love the school sooo much. We’re actually going to be saving money because the pre-school is cheaper than the full-time nanny we have, and fortunately the nanny has agreed to stay on part-time since the pre-school program is only for the mornings. That’s a win all-around in my book.Hijack – My new problem is what to do with #2 – due in November, I can take up to a year mat leave (Canada, gotta love it), but I recall from #1 that I was ready to go back to work after about 6 months. But, I can only justify/afford keeping the nanny for about 3 months. Do I go back to work after three months and keep the nanny? Let the nanny go and try to replace her three months later with who-knows-what kind of results? Take the year mat leave because, well, I can and maybe #2 won’t be the hair raising little monkey that #1 was?

  13. Well, I’m more stressed about the summer program. I am trying to decide whether to keep the kids at the place they have been since birth, which I like or move them. The only reason it’s even a decision is that the older is now 5 (or will be on Wednesday) and that means he will be with the school-aged kids this summer. There are a lot of (bad) influences from the 11-year olds, and they do field trips. A lot of field trips. Which sounds like fun until you realize that 3 chaperones are taking 30 kids to a White Sox game or to the Aquarium. And I would volunteer to chaperone said field trips if there weren’t so many of them (sometimes more than 1/week). I think this busy kind of schedule is enough to make me nuts and probably have a kid melting down or falling asleep in the car on the way home.So, I’ve toured elsewhere and checked it out. I’ve also been thinking about whether he could be bumped down to Pre-K for the summer, so I could calm the eff down about my baby on a school bus in the city.
    As for the fall, we moved into our town into our specific house 7 years ago just so we would be in the district of the top-rated elementary school. They have not been forthcoming with information (like tuition for full-day kindergarten, school hours, holidays, how lunch with kindergarteners is handled, when parents can meet the teachers, etc, etc, etc) but I am not focusing on that as I am having my hyperventilation over the summer first. First things first, right?

  14. @SarcastiCarrie, age range was different, but I have to say, having Mouse in a preschool program where they took a *daily* field trip by public transit was fantastic for her. Mixed 2.75-5.75 age range, 1:6 ratio. She learned a ton, gained a lot of independence, and was totally unfazed by kindergarten when the time came.(Yes, I was shaking with fear the first couple weeks but the school knew what they were doing and it turned out to be good for me, too, to get through that. *I* was a lot more chill about the K transition than friends whose kids had been at more sheltered preschools, and that was great too. YMMV obviously, but there’s one side of the story.)

  15. we didn’t get in to the year round school where we applied that we really liked, but I’ve been trying to stay positive about the school we track to although I’ve heard mixed things about it. Registration is this week.Saturday we went to their first “Spring Fling” and although it looked like they put loads of work into it, we were really disappointed & my son is insisting that he will NOT go there. They were playing loud rap music in the gym where the games were & outside w/the bounce house, we couldn’t hear each other, and my son just wanted to leave.
    It’s a historically poorer performing school but recently won an award, and I think they’re trying to turn it around. It draws from the poor section of our town, of which parts are becoming more gentrified, but we didn’t see anybody we knew, and felt like aliens.
    we had a terrible year at 2 preschools year before last, and he’s been so happy at the preschool he’s at this year. they have a small kindy class, but the cost is too much for us. our budget is ready for free public school. We didn’t think about schools when we bought as we had no idea we were going to have a kid.
    I’m hoping there’s a great teacher there for him.
    @caramama, I’m so sorry about the situation at your daughter’s school. I thought you handled it remarkably well, and I hope you can find a great school for both of the kids.

  16. Hugs to you all! Worrying about being accepted in the first place, how to afford it, and having to handle rejection, of any kind, truly sucks.We live in podunkville and so there is not really much meaningful choice about schools because there simply aren’t very many. However, there is a public dual language Spanish-English elementary school in a neighboring district that we will try to get into in a few years. It sounds awesome, but believe it or not, many white kids’ parents don’t send them there because they don’t like the idea, politically, about immigrant families speaking Spanish instead of English. So there will probably be room for us. If this were a major city, there would be a waitlist a mile long because there is no way in hell parents would pass that up!!
    @caramama – ITA with Cloud, find the baby’s day care first and go from there.
    @Jac – Depends on how much you love the nanny. I think once your second arrives you might find you need & want her a LOT more than perhaps you do now. FWIW, I was totally ready to go back after my first vaginally-delivered baby at 17 weeks (though I took a longer mat leave than that), and with my second vaginally-delivered baby I was ready to go back at 9 weeks (mainly to escape my 2-year-old but I digress).
    @SarcastiCarrie – What @Charisse said. I have to admit, I’m impressed that they go on field trips in the first place – it creates a lot more work for them, and some worry for the parents, but can be such a fun opportunity for the kids.
    @Lisa F. – I’m so sorry you didn’t get the school you wanted. Just remember nothing needs to be permanent, if that great teacher does not materialize.

  17. @Lisa F. – this is a total tangent, but what is it with blasting music at kid’s events? The community easter egg hunt we went to, they were blaring Ricky Martin “She Bangs” in the game area when the 2 and unders were there. I think it kind of does give you an idea of the viewpoint/experience of the person who put the event together, but not necessarily of the school as a whole. But way annoying.And I am fascinated by this whole school lottery thing… is it like Fight Club, where the first rule is you don’t talk about School Lottery? 🙂

  18. @Jac- even with my waaaay mellower baby #2, I would have been ready to go back at 6 months (except I had to go back at 3 months- with my more challenging baby #1, that was a good thing. With baby #2, I had to keep reminding myself that if I were a stay at home mom, I’d be home with mellow, cuddly baby #2 AND super active, intense little girl- aka baby #1).All of that is to say that in my opinion, it is NOT just the baby’s temperament that determines when (if?) the mom is ready to go back to work, although said temperament is a big influence.
    I don’t know what I’d do in your situation, though! Maybe try to talk the nanny into a compromise where you pay her for a month or so that you don’t really think you need and she takes a month or so off without pay? Good luck.
    OK, here’s my slightly off-topic vent:
    We’re the only parents in our little circle of parenting friends who plan to use public schools. We’re looking forward to the extra cash in our budget, but we also just believe in public schools, and want to at least give them a try and not go straight into a private school. But boy… do we feel like oddballs when the subject turns to school. People look at us like we’re nuts when we say that we’re going to send Pumpkin to public school. And we didn’t even research the schools much when choosing our house. I checked to make sure that the local schools weren’t know gang-infested nightmares, but otherwise didn’t worry about it too much.
    It will be interesting to see how things go when it is time to enroll our daughter in school. There is a Spanish immersion magnet down the street (it is actually the school closest to us), but we’ve heard that being from the neighborhood doesn’t help you get in there, so we suspect we’ll end up at the “standard” public school down the hill from us. Which will probably be fine, but whenever I say that to someone local, I get a sympathetic look. If I’m stressing about this already, I don’t like my chances for handling it well when the time actually comes.
    I guess I understand why this has gotten so much harder than it was when I was a kid- but I don’t like it!

  19. We are still completely in limbo… my boys turned 5 at the end of March. We were originally going to go the public route but with CA horrible budget situation the class size for our local school was slated to be 32 kids with 1 teacher (no aid) for K. Ugh. So we scrambled really late to find private options and if there were any other options. We went through the application process with one private school we really liked. The boys had to go through a formal assessment and then when it came time, the school told us they think the boys should wait a year to start K (they were given “the gift of time”) as their fine-motor skills were lacking and also they didn’t have the maturity yet that they’d like to see.That assessment threw us for a loop. Not what we were expecting, especially since the boys are super social and also given their March birthdays.
    We are also wait-listed for a neigboring school outside our district that has an amazing foreign language immersion program (there are three langauge choices; we’ve given them our order preference but told them we’ll take any of them ultimately). The boys are 4th and 5th on the wait list.
    In the meantime, we found a child psychologist that does educational assessments and we’ve decided to do that as sort of a second opinion of sorts and also for peace of mind so we can hopefully come to some sort of decision. He’ll be done with the assessment probably in one month. So, I’ve also reserved a slot in the boys’ current preschool just in case we go that route. This has been really rough for me as I’m a planner and we may not know what we are doing until just a month out of school starting.
    @Jac – If money isn’t an issue, I’d say keep the nanny at least 3-4 months. It might make it easier for you to spend one-on-one time with your daughter, adjust to having two children, etc. You might be able to enjoy your maternity leave more if you get more breaks from your infant child, take some time for yourself and/or volunteer in your daughter’s class, etc. Either way, can you stall a little on the decision until after you have your baby and see how things are going?

  20. @caramama – glad you have come to a decision about the school, though bummer that it’s more work for you ;(@hush – the Montessori preschool right down the street from us is bilingual and I am so hoping that we’ll be able to send BabyT there when she’s ready. I’m so excited for her to learn Spanish 🙂
    Everyone else – what’s the deal with holding back everyone for Kindergarten until they’re almost 6?! My girl is born just 2 weeks after the cutoff and if she’s ready, I’d love to send her early, but with much older kids in the class it gives me pause. Personally, I skipped K and 4th so I was all out of whack age-wise, but I don’t understand the uber-concern now about social maturity over academic learning. (then again, I’m biased.)

  21. A) I’m seriously considering home-schooling my son till about 7th or 8th grade. I’ve heard such awful things about the elementary and middle schools in our town that I’m not willing to let my son get mixed up in all that until he’s older. There’s a bunch of other mommies in town who do it, so we’d home-school “together” more or less, I think. Or maybe we’d start our own school. 🙂 Really, the main reason is I HATE STANDARDIZED TESTS and I refuse to put my son through that trauma.B) We’re skipping daycare/preschool again this year. Son just turned 19 months old, so he’ll be just shy of 2 in the fall and the younger-2’s classroom teacher for the daycare he was at in August ’07 *scares the daylights out of me* like I can’t even explain. She… threatens the kids! She yells at them. She uses bribes and shames them into “behaving.” It’s really awful (I only know this because I was there as a “specials” teacher at the beginning of the year, hated it, stopped teaching and pulled my son out too). But every time we call, they say they have a spot saved for him. Awkward! Someday I’ll have to tell them that he’s not coming back till he’s at least 3 years old.

  22. Whew! Congratulations. I know first hand how crazy that wait and wonder is. My daughter was entered in the lottery for our only choice of public charter school here in San Diego, CA. Fortunately her name was the first picked out of 439 Kinder applications!!! Last year my son had sibling priority for kinder and this coming Sept my youngest has a guaranteed spot as well. I can’t believe that all 3 of my kids will be in ONE PLACE!!! I do not know what I would have done if my daughter didn’t get in 3 years ago as the neighborhood schools by my house was absolutely NOT an option!

  23. I have a question about schools that offer language immersion. We may have an opportunity for our son to attend a public French immersion school, which sounds intriguing, except…we don’t speak French so how would we help with homework if need be? We have to learn it along with him?

  24. Hi Raia – we aren’t yet in so my info is based on folks asking the same question on the school tour. They say it doesn’t matter. The first year, it sounded like the homework was just to read to your child (in English) 30 minutes a day. If there were a couple worksheets here and there, they’d be simple enough for you to help. The lady in charge of the program said that most parents don’t speak the language and it works out fine. She said that sometimes it sparks an interest and the parents wind up taking classes to learn the language as well but it definitely wasn’t necessary.

  25. Ok, this is all scaring me a bit. DS will be 2 next week and I honestly have never really given serious thought into looking at specific pre-school programs just yet.We had always been interested in home-schooling and I figured we’d try it with pre-school to see if we could live that lifestyle and do it well. But my own attempts to find a home-school community have come up with only a religious based group that has 3 Bible verses in their mission statement – not that I wouldn’t have anything in common with them, but my reasons for home-schooling aren’t religious and I tend to piss fundamentalists off. Ask my mil.
    But now I’m thinking about how shy DS is and how, just like me, he doesn’t take to socializing very naturally. Maybe having him in pre-school next year is worth thinking about – especially if I can’t find or put together a home school community that feels right for us.

  26. Very few preschools around here so we’ll be on a list next year I’m sure.But yeah, apart from finances, the 2nd biggest reason we haven’t moved back to San Francisco is the ridiculous school lottery system. Even though it really is our dream place to live/have lived.
    My sympathies to everyone going through the school waiting list thing….

  27. @No Name Today….a friend of mine had the same conundrum about cut-offs. In the end they reasoned that their son would do better as the older kid than the younger kid in class. Plus, boys develop later than girls and being a few months older might give him an advantage. If that helps great! If not, consider it well-intentioned from a fellow mother of a son.

  28. Still in limbo here in NYC, waiting to see if we will pay for private pre-school for one more year (ouch!) or be one of the lucky ones to snag a free public pre-k spot (most likely at our zoned school which we are not completely wild about but will be OK for pre-k.) Then following year for Kindergarten, we’ll start all over again with lotteries and waiting lists. Can’t wait ’til we are all set for 6 years once he gets into Kindergarten. Can’t even think about my younger one yet although I hope sibling preference will help us somewhat. Anyone on the fence about testing for Gifted and Talented?

  29. @caramama – that sucks about your preschool, but you did what you had to do and you’re absolutely right about them needing to take it more seriously. At least now you’ve come to your decision… and I second (third?) the suggestion to find day care for younger then see if its a fit for older.@Jac – can you keep the nanny for 3 months and THEN decide? How much notice does she need? At least keep her for as long as you can to delay the decision until after you have the baby and see what his/her temperament is like. Maybe you’ll be like “get me back to work NOW” or maybe you’ll decide to take the year. I’m in Canada too, on month three of mat leave. Last baby I took the full year but wanted to go back after 8 months. Couldn’t because I couldn’t find a daycare I liked that took under-one-year-olds.

  30. We’ll be taking my son, who will be three in July, to visit his nursery school on Friday afternoon. I’m super excited, even though he is NOT (whenever I mention school, he says “Ah no no no!”).My stress? He’s not even close to potty trained, and if he still isn’t trained in September, he won’t be able to attend. It’s a public nursery school which only accepts kids at the beginning of the school year or potentially in the middle, in December, and if it’s a no-go, then what do we do? The other family in our nanny-share set-up has already made other plans starting in September, so we’ll potentially be without child care (though we may be able to negotiate).
    I feel like such a loser for not having made progress with potty training, and this just adds a whole other layer of stress. Not to mention the financial aspect of losing out on four months to a year of free public nursery school. (I know, I’m totally spoiled to even have the option; back in the US we’d be paying for a private solution through K.)

  31. @parisienneDon’t give up hope! I think we have discussed this before on other blogs. I was in the exact same predicament as you two years ago. Noah was starting kinder in January (3rd birthday)and it was the beginning of September and not a sign of wanting to toilet train. I had pushed him a bit earlier ( at 2.5) and he peed like a puppy everywhere so I gave up the very same day. The ped said it would be useles as his nappies were still wet when he woke up so he hadn’t learnt to hold on yet. Then at 2.75 ( around mid Sept)he woke up two mornings with a dry nappy and that was it. I put undies on him and popped him on the toilet every half and hour and he never looked back. Really, you know, when you least expect it, he’ll be ready.
    BTW, do they make allowances for kids who are just about there? Like kids still wearing pull ups, ‘just in case’? The local Catholic school allows them for kids who still have accidents with no.2’s.

  32. Am very very grateful that we have so many quality magnet schools in our area. Four excellent public magnet elementary schools to pick from (and then wait in line for admission)as well as other specialty magnet schools in our urban district. The admission period was last fall – almost a full year ahead of time, and parents wait hours and in some cases overnight to get their kids a spot in the selected school. We didn’t wait overnight, but did wait 8 hours in line (we were second in line, so were pretty much assured of getting one of the few all-day preschool spots). Thanks to sibling priority we will not have to repeat this with #2. The wait in line wasn’t too bad – my husband waited/read/chatted with other parents while I showed up with lunch and coffee throughout the chilly November day. The wait and worry BEFORE admission was the worst, so I definitely understand the anxiety you are going through! Hope you all get into/find the school that works best for you!

  33. I guess I should be thankful DS misses the birthday cut off by a couple of weeks so I can avoid all of this for one more year!!

  34. Cloud, with your concerns about how others will react to your public school choice – my guess would be that when you start public school, you’ll find the other parents who share your values. Lots of people in my neighborhood do private school, but there is also a core of public school families. You just haven’t met yours yet!For those of you looking at public schools and worrying about being zoned for a “bad” school – don’t just go by test scores and NCLB and demographics and what local rumor says. Visit the school(s) in question, talk to the principal and teachers, observe the classrooms and the kids. Our city has no school choice right now – zoned by residence only – and our school is an urban, Title 1 (heavily poor) and majority-minority school, and we’re overeducated librul white Yankees in the South. And we love our public school. My son (turning 4 in July) got into the public pre-K program there by lottery in March, and he is excited to start school with his sister “when he’s 4”.

  35. @parisienne- when we first potty trained (at about 2.75, I think), it literally took a weekend. She was even wearing underwear for naps within a week.Then she regressed. We don’t put her in pull ups (except for overnight, and I’d like to stop that soon if we could- I think she wakes up dry and then pees in them). We just have lots of accidents some days- but mostly at home or when she’s out with us. At day care, she stays dry no problem. Some days with us, she stays dry with no problem, too. Other days, not so much. I’m not sure what to make of it, but at least one other little girl in her class is doing the same thing.
    Anyway, I second what @Paola said- when it is time, it will probably be a very fast process. And surely they expect some accidents at that age, right?

  36. Phew! So far, every nail-biting situation has worked out for us… Eldest got into the public school pre-school program back in the day (lottery situation), then got into our first choice public school (where there is often a waitlist)…. Just got the letter that Younger got into the pre-school program that Eldest did, too! Awesome! And since she has a sib already at the school where we’ll want her to start kindergarten year after next, she gets priority. It is just so, so unbelievable to me that we’re nearing the end of that whole process and also that when I was pregnant with Eldest we just happened to move to the zone that had the perfect school for our kids. The whole deal makes me feel, literally, weak with relief.@Cloud—mmmm, yes, I’m rabidly pro-public schools (as a daughter of public schoolteachers)… to each his own… but I wouldn’t wish a private or suburban setting on my children. We are exactly where we want to be.

  37. My problem is my work. If I was only going to take a small mat leave (i.e. 3 months), they’d probably trundle along without me. But any longer and they would be looking to hire someone on a contract position to replace me. Once that is done, I can’t really ask to come back sooner. So I really need to decide before I go, how much time I am going to take. I’m liking Cloud’s suggestion of discussing it with the Nanny – seeing if she would be willing to take some unpaid leave, or maybe look for a short-term gig to tied her over. We have a really great relationship. I do think six months mat leave would be ideal, but I really don’t want to lose the Nanny.

  38. @Moxie – I think I forgot to say congrats! So: Congrats!@Cloud, @hush and @Melba – Good points. I probably will re-aim my focus on daycares that take 1 yos first. My concern, however, is that I don’t feel comfortable with where my daughter currently is, while my son is in fantastic hands (that just cost more than we can continue to afford comfortably). I guess that’s why I’ve been more concerned about where to move her and how quickly I can move her. But it’s likely that if we find a daycare we like for the boy, we will like the older room for the girl, too.
    @Raia – So exciting you are coming to the meet up! About immersion programs: My cousin went to a French immersion school for most of his life, and his parents don’t speak French. He did fine. And that’s all I got for ya.
    @paola – Yeah for your daughter getting into your son’s kinder! I can’t wait to hear about all the things you do with your freed up time!
    @meanderwithme – I have a boss who said he felt like he got this huge raise when his youngest finally went off to kindergarten. I totally hear that!
    @Jac – That’s a tough one. I had about 3 months leave with both, and I was SO happy to have the nanny stay for my daughter when my son arrived. It really eased the transition for her, since it was the same routine she was used to, and let me concentrate on the new baby. Right as I was returning to work, the nanny started watching my son while my daughter started at pre-school. This worked out ideally for us, especially since I was really ready to return to work after 3 months for both. I have no real advice, just what worked for me/us. 🙂
    @Lisa F. – Thanks for your kind words. I hope that your son gets a great teacher who makes the school a win for him!
    @mo – Great idea to get an educational assessment to give you some outside perspective. I would have no idea what to do if a school recommended we wait!
    @ARC – Thanks!

  39. @Cloud – yes, I’ve wondered if that’s a San Diego thing to be horrified at the thought of sending a child to public school. I dunno, the kids walking to and from the elementary school down the street from my house seem happy and smart to me! I’ve heard some parental “horror” stories about SD Unified, but I’ve heard just as many great stories. Who knows, you’re a smart mama and you’ll know what’s right for her.

  40. We’re waiting on magnet school space, lottery selection. We’re on a waiting list which means we got picked, but we’re not in the first-come, first-served district so we wait. While news breaks daily about whether the school we’re in will stay open or be closed due to economic straits …With my littler one, it’s me that’s the problem – I couldn’t choose between two preschools and finally just put two deposits down. Now I’m dithering over calling the one that lost out to let them know.

  41. Thanks, @CaliBoo!I keep reminding myself of some research described in Freakonomics (at least I think that is where I read about it). I’m probably going to fail to remember the details properly, but it was something like this:
    They looked at child “success” rates in Chicago Public Schools after charter schools were introduced. They found that the kids that went to charter schools did better than the average population. But when they looked closer, they found that the kids whose parents tried to get them into charter schools but couldn’t (due to limits on the number of kids those schools could take) also did better than the average population.
    The conclusion was that having an involved parent (e.g., one who cared enough to try to make a school choice) was what led to success, not the actual school choice.
    I find that research very comforting!

  42. Speaking of research that we can’t remember where we read to cite….about holding boys back even when their birthdays meet the kidnergarten cut-off: I read (somewhere) that it evens out by 3rd or 4th grade. Some people hold boys back because they think boys should be “bigger”. Some people do it because they think boys should be able to sit still longer. All-in-all, do what you think is best but know that no matter what, it’s not going to matter in the long-run.

  43. @Cloud – I have always suspected that it’s more about parent involvement and simply caring about the child’s education than where they go to school. In my area (where I live now is also where I grew up), the public schools have to compete with the private schools, so many public schools are really quite good. I went to private school one year (8th grade), but otherwise went to public schools and had lots of friends in private schools. I’ve found that it’s more of a social construct/mentality for some people who are used to thinking only of going to/sending their kids to private schools and isn’t usually a reflection on the actual schools.@SarcastiCarrie and others – I also seem to think I read something about other countries starting kids in kinder later that we do in the US and that it ends up not really making a difference. But I can’t remember what exactly I read or where I read it.

  44. @Flea- how did I miss your comment before? You are right, of course. As is @caramama.Thanks, everyone, for making me feel better.

  45. @paola – thank you for reminding me of your experience! I tend to feel like I’m the only one whose been in this “crunch” situation with potty training and school, which is pretty stupid.@cloud – I don’t know how tolerant they are of accidents (we’ll find out more this Friday when we meet the school director), but I’d suspect a little. I hope. It seems to be a priority to get as many kids into public nursery school as possible by 3 years old, and well, they’ve got to give us a little bit of flexibility, right? As long as the regression comes in October rather than September…

  46. @parisienne- at least two of Pumpkin’s little day care friends are sailing through potty training with no regression in sight.Yes, I am insanely jealous.
    But I wish such good luck for you!

  47. We just got the “thin envelope” (ok, the short e-mail) from the preschool we had our hearts set on, telling us they don’t have space for our daughter. And I can’t believe how heart-broken I am. But that place is clearly special, and different from the others we saw, and couldn’t they see how they were made for our sweetie???Now it’s back to square one (since our 2nd choice didn’t have space either), and all I can think every time I look at a place is that it sounds ok, but nowhere near as nice as 1st choice school.

  48. @SarcastiCarrieInteresting research! In Italy, the cut off for school entrance is December, but January kids are accepted, although it isn’t recommended. My kids are both Januray babies.
    Anyway, we had the choice of sending Noah to Primary School this September as he is a January kid ( he will be 5.75), but he isn’t that mature and although he sits still he is a fidgeter and always touching and fiddling with something. Also, the languge thing. Being bi-lingual his Italian is not at the same level as other 5 year olds and so an extra year at kinder will be great for his language skills. Also,the teachers and our ped all advised against sending him early to Primary School. So he’ll go to school at nearly 7.
    Now I don’t know about Zoe. We’ll see how she goes. She will certainly be readier, but I still think it is better all round for kids to spend the first few years playing before getting stuck into academic stuff.

  49. @caramama: We chose to pay for the Montessori pre-school (through K for the boys) as we felt that gave them a fabulous start on their educational process. With that background, they do really well in regular school (which in our case is a charter school that has been consistently rated “excellent”). Then we would work hard to get them into a high school that will get them ready for college, and for college they are pretty much on their own.

  50. @allison, check your homeschool rules, at least in PA standardized testing is still required for homeschooled kids.Montessori IS expensive. The materials cost alone is huge, and the cost rolls downhill. But we definitely felt it was worth it.
    Charters do have the advantage of having involved parents skew – you can’t get in unless your parents care about your education enough to apply. I like our charter for the curriculum (“Core Knowledge” – which is federally approved so any public school can use it). It is also available for homeschooling (which is where it started, actually).
    That said, I’ve spoken with other parents at the charter, and there are plenty who felt it was a real wrench to leave the public school, because some of the schools are really very good. Some are definitely not, and the kids need some kind of enrichment, and a lot of social support outside school to manage the behaviors ‘allowed’ at school. Still, even in the charter, there are good years/bad years, teachers that mesh with my kids, teachers who don’t, etc. Sigh. It’s life.

  51. Does anyone know what people do who have to move in the middle of all this? My kids will be set if we stay here but my husband is interviewing for a job which will involve a major move into an competitive/intense area with multiple districts and lotteries for all the schools. My youngest turns 5 at the end of October so I think we’ll just hold him back (though he’s totally ready) and find a preschool or daycare somewhere/somehow but my oldest will be starting 2nd grade and I can’t help but feel that whatever place he gets will be everyone’s very last choice. Does anyone know if there’s any other way? The way things are going I can’t imagine we’d move until the middle of the summer and I just can’t get my head around how we will figure out where to send oldest to school. Any ideas much appreciated.

  52. @eliz- you can probably tell from my earlier comments that I don’t really have an advice for you on how to handle your situation.But I wanted to say- I think it will all be OK. Even if you get a truly bad school, it is only one year, and your influence is going to FAR outweigh the school’s influence at this age.
    I spent my second grade year with a teacher whose basic pedagogical approach was to assign worksheets. I think it killed my mother (herself an elementary school teacher) to see that, but she says I was happy at the time. And I don’t think that set me back too far overall.
    In fact, I spent my entire school career in public schools that were probably much like the public schools that are horrifying my friends here. And I went on to a good college (and grad school!) and actually look back on some of my experiences in those schools as being very good for me, even if academically, my schools weren’t as great as some of the schools attended by my college classmates.
    I totally understand why you are stressed out. I would be too. Actually, if you read my first comment in this thread, I AM stressed out, and we’re still a couple of years away from actually choosing a school. But I think it will all be OK. For both of us!

  53. @Cloud – That is so funny because I love worksheets. And I like standardized testing too. And timed tests. And multiplication tables. So different strokes for different folks (and I went to a prestigious college and all that even with the worksheets).

  54. I have been delighted with the academics of child’s Montessori school but decided to pull him out after year two of three due to financial concerns. (He was in for age 3-4 and then age 4-5 this year.) No, I am not feeding him to the wolves; I am so, so lucky to have full-day public K that is very good. As a family, we just needed the “raise” that happens when you don’t have to pay over a thousand a month for Montessori, (more like 1300/month when you include all the fees and all the charges for “aftercare” of 3-5pm.)

  55. Sorry for getting to this discussion so late. For those worried about standardized tests, you have the right to opt-out of such testing for your child. Most schools don’t want you to opt out, because if their test participation falls below a certain percentage of they risk trouble with NCLB.

  56. children have their oun road to go,what parents have to do is encourage children to try their best to do what they want to do,and pay attention to point the derection of the grow for them.

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