Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The First Day of Kindergarten. . . AGAIN!

Last night I got the call I had been hoping to get all summer; a spot opened up for Maisey at the charter school. I thought all along it would be an easy choice to make when the time came. After I got off the phone with the principle I just started crying. This is what I thought we wanted all along, but she LOVES her other teacher, and has already made friends (her friend Ryan gave her a flower on the play ground yesterday!). It also didn't help that Shaun is in Vegas this week for work. I was just really torn on what to do. So we decided to give it a try today. I bought some uniforms a few weeks ago just in case we got in, so I pulled those out and we tried them on. Maisey HATED them! She kept saying "these aren't stylish, these look like Daddy's work clothes, these make me look like a boy." But then my friend sent me a picture of her daughter in her uniform then Maisey was ok with them. In the morning, we had the same drama again, but we made it out the door.

 Here she is in her uniform! You can tell she's nervous because she didn't even pose.

 This was a forced pose! 

I went to drop her off this morning and it was a whirlwind. All of the students were arriving at the same time and all needed help on remembering what to do so I felt really rushed and with out a lot of direction. Maisey's new teacher, Ms. Dunlap showed Maisey where her desk was and gave her a workbook type packet to start working on and then rang the bell telling all parents it was time to leave. She started crying a little bit and I felt really bad for her. 

I walked out of the room and saw my two friends and just lost it. It was very structured and not as welcoming and friendly and fun as the other school. I was so afraid that Maisey wouldn't enjoy herself. I went in and met with the principle for a little bit and she gave me a little more general whole-school info. I left and pretty much cried all morning, and tried to pull myself together in time to pick her up. When I picked her up she didn't have much to say. She told me that she was very hungry and that she sat in her desk for a long time. I met with her teacher for a few minutes, but Gage was all over the place and being very defiant so I didn't get a lot out of it. But she called me a few minutes ago and talked through things with me, which helped a little bit.

I think the thing I am most concerned about is if the charter school is too structured. In my opinion, Kindergarten should include a circle time where you talk about the calendar and maybe read a story or two (I remember doing this up through 2nd grade) and maybe sing a few songs. I'm not saying that it should all be fun and games, but when you are assigned your own desk and just handed a packet to get started on and that is your first impression of the school, I had a hard time with it. The charter school only has 1/2 day kindergarten, so I know they try to fit as much academics in as possible, but kids can learn through manipulatives and games and stories. I guess it's just a completely different attitude toward learning than what I am used to.

We are going to give it a shot for the rest of the week, by then Shaun will be home and we will be able to make a decision as to what is best for her. The hard part is we can't just think about Kindergarten. We have to think about what is best for her over the next few years as well as what is best for Gage. It is hard to get into the school and now we have our foot in the door so we don't want to waste a good opportunity. Ahhhhhhh. . . what to do!!

It's funny how you want something so bad, then when you get it you're not even sure that's what you want anymore.

Regardless, I've got some pretty cute school kids!


DaNae said...

If you want my opinion (which I don't know if you do...) I would keep her in a charter school. If Ella had the opportunity where we live I would send her in a heart beat. I think public schools WASTE so much time. You can learn all that same stuff in 1/2 day vs. full day because they fill the full day with fluff. My nieces and nephews who are in charter are way further ahead of the ones who do public. I think the structure and class size have a lot to do with that.

I've been researching private schools because the crap they are learning is so basic compared to where Ella is.

But as her mom, you know what's best!

Desiree said...

Wow, this situation is too eeerily familiar! I had the same thoughts and was in the same predicament when April started Kinder at the charter as well! I thought it was way too structured, and her little tears made it too hard for me to make her go there. I thought Kindergarden needed to be fun, with calendar time, and more play just like you were thinking. She ended up at Nellie, with Ms. Teyler (which was great), but it's such a hard decision! I understand exactly where you are at! Yes, the charter schools are very academic oriented, but you could always put her back in next year. They'll still take her back, they did for April, but I understand the risk of not being able to get back in. Oh man! I'm sorry. These decisions are so hard!

Tabatha & Michael Stimpson said...

im sorry em!! :( its a hard one....a good teacher vs a good school. out of my 3 kids the oldest 2 did kinder at a regular school and then brayden did kinder at arthur, and i dont remember even worrying about the "fluff" in kindergarden for brayden...i dont even think it crossed my mind! probably because i saw the difference and growth in my oldest 2 academically that i wasnt worried about brayden and kinder. and yes arthur is WAY more structred then the other schools but thats probably one of the reasons why these kids do better then compared to the other kids in the district. she'll do great either way :)
its tough being a grown up...with kiddos!
you do have cute kiddos! :)

Brandon and Angela Hoopes said...

Such a tough decision! I really wish I knew more about Arthur and why everyone loves it so much. I understand you wanting to get your foot in the door there, but as an Early Child educator I think it is soooo important for young children to learn through play, not worksheets. With the pressures put on teachers to teach more at a younger age, classrooms are moving away from a "play-based" approach to a "sit & memorize" approach. The later may provide the best results for standardized tests, but that's not the kind of education children need...
Good luck with this tough decision! And I just have to say, Gage was so good in Preschool today! And so stinkin cute!

that's what she said...

eeek, this is us next year. and a little bit this year as well where we were deciding which was the best preschool for our boys. we ended up going with one that's 20 minutes away vs the 3 minutes away one just because it looked better. the things we do for our kids!