Much ink has been dedicated to the “-ber baby” conundrum. For parents of preschoolers, the big question is often “Do I send my child this year, or wait until next?”
We’re not having that debate. Our daughter has a summer birthday and is emotionally, academically, and physically ready for kindergarten (even though she’s a peanut!). Our debate is whether to keep her in her current elementary, where she is a magnet pre-kindergartner, or to bring her to our neighborhood school.
Both public schools have their merits. On one hand, her current experience has been amazing. The curriculum focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), they have Suzuki violin each week (she plays on a prototype – a mac n’ cheese box with a ruler for the neck and rubber bands for strings), and she is especially fond of her buddies and gym teacher.We love the idea of STEM, especially because her mathematical and creative mind are apparent, even at four years old. As a consultant in transportation, environmental, and community planning, I have a window into the real-world application of these disciplines, and the future is bright. Furthermore, my husband and I aren’t strong in any of these, so we welcome the exposure and confidence-boosting at school. None of this means she will be a scientist or an engineer, but I love her school day integrates the fundamentals. (As a stronger artist and writer, I never felt confident in science or math. Or maybe that was a learned thought pattern…)
Her school is very diverse. It’s a veritable melting pot of students. It mirrors the real world.
She takes a little bus to school. She likes it but let’s be honest – the bus is good for my schedule. It buys another hour of a work day and doesn’t require us shelling out for after-school care.
Lastly, because she’s a magnet student, we can move within town and she keeps her spot. There is a fair chance this’ll happen in the next couple of years.
On the other hand, we live two blocks from our neighborhood school (this was a big reason we bought our house). We play at the playground on the weekends. We live on a street with no less than five other children entering kindergarten. Everyone has good things to say about it. It’s a true neighborhood school, which is what my own childhood memories are made of, and it was wonderful. We fear that if we don’t bring her to this school, she’ll be left out of our little community.
Then again, we’ll lose the diversity, the STEM focus, the bus time, and the violin. (Anyone can call my bluff on this violin business. I NEVER make her practice, I just think it’s so cool she’s learning an instrument!!)
Each day, Dave and I flip-flop. One day, I’m feeling School A, he’s feeling School B. The next day, we completely reverse. We’re not in disagreement, we’re together in limbo, waiting for the AHA! moment. We’ve been to both schools, and will attend both parent nights this Spring, searching for clarity.
At the end of the day, she’ll be at a great school. She’ll make friends and we’ll build community wherever we choose. I can’t say how the academics will shape her life. Maybe they won’t!
Anyone been down this road and have words of advice?