Off to Kindergarten?

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My older daughter just turned five and everywhere we go this summer we’re hearing the same question:

Are you off to Kindergarten in the fall?

And I don’t know if she knows what to say, or knows what kindergarten is, so I usually answer for her. She knows she’ll be a third year, but I don’t think anyone else really knows what that is when she says it. When I explain that she won’t be going to Kindergarten and that she goes to a private school, possibly even what some consider an alternative school, I often feel snobby or that people will perceive me as snobby because my kids go to a private school.

Originally we planned Montessori School as an alternative to traditional daycare. The cost wasn’t much more and we really believe in the philosophy. Plus my husband and I both have moms who taught Montessori and we both went to Montessori. Instead of single age classrooms, her classroom is her classroom for three years and has 3-6 year olds.

So while many of my friend’s children are gearing up for a new school and a new teacher, I feel guilty being relaxed about her going back into the same classroom with the same amazing teachers. As a third year she’ll be doing some fun new things like playing on the big playscape and going on field trips. I think I would be terrified and anxious right now if we were getting ready for a new school and a teacher we didn’t know. Some of her school friends are leaving for their “neighborhood schools” and she knows that she’ll most likely do that next year. I’m starting to prep her in case that’s the route we go. We have absolutely nothing against public school, we just love her private school so much.

I don’t consider myself super high maintenance when it comes to being a worried parent, but I am already thinking about the transition to a public school classroom for first grade. Will she have missed out by not starting in Kindergarten with everyone else? Are we making the right decision? What if everyone has already made friends and she has a tough time making new friends? What if she can’t handle sitting at a desk? I try to remind myself we’re just taking it one year at a time. I’ll have plenty of time to worry about all that stuff next year.


1 comments on “Off to Kindergarten?”

  1. Jenn – is she going straight from Montessori to first next year? In any case, a full year in a familiar place is HUGE. I am a huge believer in the fact that emotional maturity is as important, if not more, than intellectual or academic maturity in the grand scheme of life. Giving her an extra year in a place that she is comfortable will set her up to be more confident when she does move on. Even if she may not have covered everything that her public school peers might have covered by the time they enter first grade, she will quickly get up to speed; kids always do. And on making friends, it might be tough at first but that will eventually work itself out, too. 🙂

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