My mom adventures in Fort Collins


The great school anxiety
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Doesn’t she look ready to take on the world…Including Kindergarten?

When you have a child, you are vaguely aware that some day this child will leave your side and go off into the world without you.

Slowly, you build up to such a major event. For Scout, I left her at a child care provider’s home when she was 8 weeks old. I was tearing up against my will, I did NOT want to let her go. Well, here we are over four years later, and I’m obsessing about sending her to school. More specifically, to kindergarten. This fall.

Namely, there are two main sources of anxiety: 1) Is she ready for Kindergarten? and 2) What school do we send her to?

To address the first question–It’s odd, this bothered me last fall, then I put it to bed, now it’s bothering me again. Scout has a June birthday. Around here, it seems lots of parents hold their summer-birthday-kids back. I personally found that odd, but as a total flip-flopper, I can see their perspective: You have to think long-term. It’s not so much a question of “Is she ready for Kindergarten?” as it is a question of, “Will she always be playing catch-up? Feel younger? Be less mature than her classmates?” You have to think of the big picture, right?

I am going to solicit her pre-school teachers input on this question. I also put a phone call in to our local school to ask if I can sit in on some classes. While I think she’s ready (she is independent, she can count/recite letters/knows plenty of letter-sounds/can write many letters, and she really truly enjoys school), I can’t be sure. I can talk to a hundred people and truth be told, I won’t really know even then.

And to speak to the second issue, where do we send this girl (if we do send her next year)? Unlike when I grew up, there are all these choices. It’s good to have a choice, but it’s also more involved to have a choice–there’s more to this decision. There is a great neighborhood school nearby (within walking distance)… but there’s a great bilingual school near her pre-school (about 10 minutes in the car), and another cool charter school down the road, and the list goes on and on. Some of this decision is out of our hands because the charter and bilingual school have lotteries to enter. The neighborhood school is ours for the taking, we are assured a spot there.

I visited four schools. The schools host informational sessions in the evenings for parents. I visited Ridgeview Classical School, Shepardson Elementary, Harris Bilingual and Olander Elementary. Honestly, I liked all of them for various reasons. Any of these would be good schools. Yet, I am confident that some schools would be a better fit for Scout, better fit overall for our family than others. I did call Shepardson today to schedule a time to sit in on the class and observe. The receptionist acted as if this was a strange request, but I asked an individual teacher the night of the info session and she recommended it. I’ll wait until the principal returns my phone call to determine how to proceed with that. I have been told by many parents and teachers alike that the best way to get a feel for the school would be to tour it while class is in session.

So, there it is. My anxiety in print.

I try not to get bogged down in these decisions. We have great options, and we’re very lucky to have any options at all. We can’t take these things for granted! Complaining about these choices would be like complaining because you get multiple job offers–“Aw, jeez, I just don’t know WHAT to do?” So many people would wish they had these kinds of choices. I get it. That doesn’t save me from making this into the issue du jour and wrestling on and on with the many different ways this could all play out.

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