Monday, August 29, 2011

The Move to Montessori

In our state, the cut off for Kindergarten is September 30th.  All children who turn 5 by that day, should be enrolled in Kindergarten.   Z was born on September 26th and when I was in labor with him, I knew that no matter what sex the baby was, my child would be starting Kindergarten at age 6.  I had seen lots of kids in my days of teaching who August and September babies and were far behind either academically, socially or both.  I knew that the extra year would do my child a world of good and so from day one that was my plan.

My friend K feels the same way I do and her daughter A was born on September 1st.  A and Z attended preschool together and it was our plan to do 2 years of preschool, one year of private Kindergarten and then they would attend public Kindergarten the year they turned 6.  We ran this plan by the office at our elementary school were told that it was a fine plan.  K worked hard to find a private Kindergarten we could afford and everything was all set (or so we thought).

As a formality, I emailed the principal of the elementary school in April to see if there were any forms I had to fill out.  She informed me that Z would have to start Kindergarten this coming year and if I sent him to school next year at age 6, he would have to start first grade.  She said this was the law (well her interpretation) and that the only thing I could do would be to hide him for the next two years and then send him to first grade at age 7 (they wouldn't be able to force him into second grade without having first).  This news was like a blow to the stomach and K and I didn't know what to do.  We could fight it with the school board but I was not sure I wanted my son's education to hang on the decision of a group of strangers. The private Kindergarten he was signed up for was okay but not a place I wanted him to spend two years....what to do??

I had been hearing/reading a lot about Montessori and decided to do some research.  I had a few friends who sent their children there and I probably would have to if it had not been so much money.  I searched the internet, bought a book and fell in LOVE with what I read.  This truly was the perfect learning environment for Z.  I emailed the school in our area and there was a spot available for I just had to convince S, break the news to K and figure out how the heck we were going to pay for the next two years of Montessori.

S was not hard to convince, especially after I told him it was only going to be an additional $120 a month (only....).  We would make more cuts to the budget and figure out a way to make it work.  We both wanted (needed) Z's next school experience to be a positive one and this felt like the perfect place for him!  K was sad at first but my decision forced her to look closely at her situation as well.  The school we had picked was a bit of a drive and with an infant, it was a lot for her.  She decided to go with a more expensive school closer to home which she LOVES.  It all worked out.

In a few short days, Z will start school at the Montessori.  I have loved our time at home together and I am going to miss him so much.  He will go every afternoon for 3 hours so we will still have our mornings together :)  I am confident that this experience will be a good one and I LOVE the teacher he will have.  So back to school we go next week......let's hope there are not too many tears.


Annie said...

Hope he have a great experience.

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