Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Importance of Kindergarten

It's January already. Have you registered you child for Kindergarten yet? I find it yet another source of stress to have research, decide, and register my 3 year old for JK so early in the year.

My son is currently attending a private pre-school 2 mornings a week. He loves it there, and there's a Montessori component as well. What shall we do? Shall we continue paying extra to send him there? Or shall we enroll him in the public school?

I checked the Grades 3 and 6 students' test scores for all the schools in our area. 65 being the average score for English and Math in Ontario in Grade 3, our home school scored in the low 50s. Not good.

One school with a French immersion track scored consistently in the 80s. But we are not located in its school boundary. I know one parent who borrowed someone else's address in order to get her son into that school. Tough luck getting in for us.

I chatted with parents in our neighbourhood. Most of them send their kids to the Catholic school. I checked with the Catholic school board. A valid baptismal certificate is a registration requirement. My mom is a non-practising Catholic (she was baptised so that she could attend a prestigous Catholic school in Hong Kong) and my dad is a Baptist. I attended Anglican schools from pre-school to Grade 13 in 3 different continents. But I was never baptised. My husband is a devout atheist. So, Catholic school is out.

I finally picked another school with a French immersion program that scored decently (low 70s). And we are within its zone. I called the school and was told to go and pick up a registration package in person. So I drove there only to be told that there is only enough room for its home school students. My son had to attend our home school for kindergarten but could transfer there for Grade 1 when the French immersion track commenced.

Disappointed, I left. On my way home, I drove past our home school. I went in to ask for a registration package. The front office staff was friendly and helpful. Inside the school it looked bright and cheerful. I left our home school with a registration package thinking: it seemd like a nice enough school. And heck, it's only for kindergarten.

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