Pre-School: I Need Some Insight — The Bump
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Pre-School: I Need Some Insight

DS turns 3 in June and will start Pre-K in September. SO and I already know we want to enroll him into a private school, but I have questions. Is there a difference between Private vs. Catholic vs. Montessori schools? I'm doing research, and we want to base our decision based on curriculum and the tuition. I don't where to begin, but we have to register soon. Should I hold off on private school until kindergarten and do a Head-Start? Or should I go ahead and enroll him in private pre-school so he can start kindergarten with the same kids?
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Re: Pre-School: I Need Some Insight

  • alli2672alli2672 member
    edited January 2015

    I personally would call the places you are thinking of enrolling him and asking about the curriculum.  In my experience, they are happy to talk about it, give you a tour, etc.

    ETA:  I would enroll him in preschool wherever you are planning on sending him to kindergarten if possible.   

    jasminelorraine20[Deleted User]KayteeGee
  • As a private school teacher I'd enroll in the private school for pre-K. That will have the benefit of of preparing your child for that particular private school's Kinder program and (as you say) will help him develop friendships. Does the private school start at that age though? You need to be four to start our Pre-K, I'd be surprised if a pre-K was accepting 3 year olds unless it was a specific 3 year old class. Also, keep in mind that most people give their kids the "gift of time" and enroll their children once they are on the older end of the age range, so some of our pre-Kers are already 5 or turn 5 soon after the beginning of the year.


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  • As a private school teacher I'd enroll in the private school for pre-K. That will have the benefit of of preparing your child for that particular private school's Kinder program and (as you say) will help him develop friendships. Does the private school start at that age though? You need to be four to start our Pre-K, I'd be surprised if a pre-K was accepting 3 year olds unless it was a specific 3 year old class. Also, keep in mind that most people give their kids the "gift of time" and enroll their children once they are on the older end of the age range, so some of our pre-Kers are already 5 or turn 5 soon after the beginning of the year.


    The Catholic School that we're considering does start at age 3 for Pre-school. We feel like DS is ready because he shows a large amount of interest in learning, doing puzzles, reading, he speaks really well, etc. So since they accept 3 year olds, I figured why not? There's an open house in 2 weeks so I will get a lot more information then.
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  •  If it is an option to do the research now and determine the school you want for elementary, it would be great to start him there.

    Private and Montessori are different.  In Montessori he would be in a multiage classroom then progress into an elementary multiage classroom.  There are lots of specific things I love about Montessori, and you might want to take some time to read about the philosophy.  We did private after Montessori and we did private then a different private then public, and my only caution there is that unless it is your long term plan - ie all the way through K-12, you might consider private until K and then transition to elementary.  The academic approach in public and private schools is not similar, in my experience.  It can be a tough transition and leave kids with unexpected deficits (for success in a public school, not educationally - and the schools are pretty blind to this and will tell you about how successful their kids are - which is true, but it's with a cost).  Just as an example, our private school taught only traditional algorithms for math.  Public uses Chicago/New/Common Core math and refused to permit the traditional algorithms until 6th grade.  DD was quick to master the new way, but very resentful.  Long way to say - whatever school you choose, it's a whole new world from what it was when we were kids.  Now curriculum really does vary greatly between schools and within philosophies (such as with the application of Montessori - you want to make sure you understand how THAT school montessoris).  And as much as I would choose based on educational outcomes, I would also consider strongly the social side.  Private schools with no sports teams, ECs and groups (like Boy Scouts) are far less social and you really have to work to get to know the parents.  I cannot emphasize enough the benefit of a local public school for the social outcomes.  The same would be true for a local private ( in New Orleans for example, everyone went private and lived in the same neighborhoods, so it was similar to public from  a social perspective).  Good luck!

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  • 2chatter said:

     If it is an option to do the research now and determine the school you want for elementary, it would be great to start him there.

    Private and Montessori are different.  In Montessori he would be in a multiage classroom then progress into an elementary multiage classroom.  There are lots of specific things I love about Montessori, and you might want to take some time to read about the philosophy.  We did private after Montessori and we did private then a different private then public, and my only caution there is that unless it is your long term plan - ie all the way through K-12, you might consider private until K and then transition to elementary.  The academic approach in public and private schools is not similar, in my experience.  It can be a tough transition and leave kids with unexpected deficits (for success in a public school, not educationally - and the schools are pretty blind to this and will tell you about how successful their kids are - which is true, but it's with a cost).  Just as an example, our private school taught only traditional algorithms for math.  Public uses Chicago/New/Common Core math and refused to permit the traditional algorithms until 6th grade.  DD was quick to master the new way, but very resentful.  Long way to say - whatever school you choose, it's a whole new world from what it was when we were kids.  Now curriculum really does vary greatly between schools and within philosophies (such as with the application of Montessori - you want to make sure you understand how THAT school montessoris).  And as much as I would choose based on educational outcomes, I would also consider strongly the social side.  Private schools with no sports teams, ECs and groups (like Boy Scouts) are far less social and you really have to work to get to know the parents.  I cannot emphasize enough the benefit of a local public school for the social outcomes.  The same would be true for a local private ( in New Orleans for example, everyone went private and lived in the same neighborhoods, so it was similar to public from  a social perspective).  Good luck!

    Thank you, you gave me a lot to look into. My plan was to have DS in a catholic school for pre-k until the end of elementary (which the one I'm looking into has sports teams, the other military families that are in the local area have said great things about the dynamic of the school, etc.) and then possibly transition him into a Junior High School of the Arts or maybe honors classes in a public Jr. High if he does well. Something of that nature. I'm really not sure if that's the best plan, but I because of that social aspect that you just mention, I don't want him in private school PreK-12.
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  • As a private school teacher I'd enroll in the private school for pre-K. That will have the benefit of of preparing your child for that particular private school's Kinder program and (as you say) will help him develop friendships. Does the private school start at that age though? You need to be four to start our Pre-K, I'd be surprised if a pre-K was accepting 3 year olds unless it was a specific 3 year old class. Also, keep in mind that most people give their kids the "gift of time" and enroll their children once they are on the older end of the age range, so some of our pre-Kers are already 5 or turn 5 soon after the beginning of the year.


    I gave it a little more thought and I think I agree with the gift of time. I'm leaning more towards sending him next year when he's about to turn 4. That will buy me some time as well as him. Thank you all so much for help.
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  • 2chatter said:
    ::SNIP::
    Thank you, you gave me a lot to look into. My plan was to have DS in a catholic school for pre-k until the end of elementary (which the one I'm looking into has sports teams, the other military families that are in the local area have said great things about the dynamic of the school, etc.) and then possibly transition him into a Junior High School of the Arts or maybe honors classes in a public Jr. High if he does well. Something of that nature. I'm really not sure if that's the best plan, but I because of that social aspect that you just mention, I don't want him in private school PreK-12.
    you clearly have a lot of time to think about this, and even discuss it with your son...i know some folks that switched to public school in middle school, and some for high school. there are pros and cons. if you stay in private, you have continuity and the same group of people, but it is expensive, and can be insular. if you switch for high school, your son starts high school as a complete stranger without the familiar group - which, depending on your child, can be either great or terrible. if you switch for middle school, that can be tough because it is such a brutal age or you might find that the public middle school isn't what you had in mind for your son in terms of curriculum, arts, sports, etc.

    i think it's great that you are looking into your options early. PPs have given excellent advice. i know that schools are eager to share information with potential students regarding curriculum, so contacting your options directly is your best bet.
                          
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  • The private school where we plan to send our kids has preschool at 3, pre-k at 4 and kindergarten at 5. We plan to send our kids starting then so they and we can quickly become part of that community. The idea of the local public elementary being social really depends on where you are. That isn't true in our area so much. There's more a sense of community around the private schools. I went to public elementary here and transitioned to private Catholic school for 7-12, and there was much more a sense of community around the private schools. (I'm still really close to half a dozen people from my private school, and that makes me practically a hermit... Most people stay in touch much better than I do.) But then again, the private school where we are sending our kids has everything from swim teams and wrestling to equestrian, fine arts, drama, and music.
    KayteeGee
  • Thank you, you gave me a lot to look into. My plan was to have DS in a catholic school for pre-k until the end of elementary (which the one I'm looking into has sports teams, the other military families that are in the local area have said great things about the dynamic of the school, etc.) and then possibly transition him into a Junior High School of the Arts or maybe honors classes in a public Jr. High if he does well. Something of that nature. I'm really not sure if that's the best plan, but I because of that social aspect that you just mention, I don't want him in private school PreK-12.
    We are kind of thinking of doing the same thing as you.  We are leaning towards sending out kids to Catholic school from kindergarten on (and pre-k on for DD).  Our Catholic school goes up to 8th grade and the Catholic high schools are too far for us to consider using.  I think we are leaning towards giving the kids a choice at middle school to either stay in the Catholic school or switch to public, knowing that they'll have to go to public for high school.  I was worried about the social aspects but we plan on being involved in community activities and hopefully the kids will have friends both in Catholic and public schools.  Also, my brother and sister recently transitioned from Catholic grade school to public high school and they both went in not having an established group of friends and both flourished.

    For us, the choice of Catholic vs public has most to do with our involvement with our Catholic church.  Since we are raising our kids Catholic we see a lot of benefit of being in a Catholic environment.  We also like the smaller school/class size.  I went to Catholic school from 1st-12th and it is therefore also what I know and am comfortable with.
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    jasminelorraine20
  • I would consider what the natural entry point is for the school.  For example if the school has a 3-yo class, how many more spots open at PK-4?  If not many, you might want to apply/enroll now.
  • MommyAtty said:
    The private school where we plan to send our kids has preschool at 3, pre-k at 4 and kindergarten at 5. We plan to send our kids starting then so they and we can quickly become part of that community. The idea of the local public elementary being social really depends on where you are. That isn't true in our area so much. There's more a sense of community around the private schools. I went to public elementary here and transitioned to private Catholic school for 7-12, and there was much more a sense of community around the private schools. (I'm still really close to half a dozen people from my private school, and that makes me practically a hermit... Most people stay in touch much better than I do.) But then again, the private school where we are sending our kids has everything from swim teams and wrestling to equestrian, fine arts, drama, and music.
    This is us exactly, save there is no 3s option.  And it's a catholic private school.  We are starting at pre-K (DS will be 4) in the fall.
    Definitely where we are there are tremendous social opportunities with the private schools, the HS we aim to send DS to is big and very highly touted all around.  Private doesn't necessarily mean small or fewer options.  Privates vary so widely you have to really compare each individually rather than as a group.
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