So, it’s official. Carina has completed her kindergarten screening, and we’ve paid the first of the enrollment/registration/building fees. She’ll be attending kindergarten at The Anthony School this fall. We are very excited!
As I mentioned in my previous post, taking the school tours and asking lots of questions was what really helped us make the decision. Much like buying a house, we certainly analyzed all the facts and figures, the school stats and programs, etc., but when it came down to it, The Anthony School just “felt right” when we walked through. The school is small, but not too small. It looks and feels like a typical elementary school – not too fancy, but not stashed in a basement or retrofitted into an old office building. The fact that there are students there from 27 different countries is very cool (one of the reasons we were excited to move to LR was to expose our kids to more diversity). Carina will also get to participate in at least one stage play per year (perfect for a drama queen), and preschoolers and kindergartners learn how to roller skate in PE class once a week. Starting in first grade, students drop the skates and pick up the violin. The class sizes are small (about 15 per class in kindergarten), and the curriculum will definitely keep miss-smarty-pants on her toes. Oh, and she’ll get to go to Spanish class twice a week as well.
We also toured and were impressed with Central Arkansas Christian school. Their approach to Kindergarten is very interesting. The class – I think there were about 18 kids – are split in half and spend time with each of the two teachers throughout the day. The teachers each have their own humongous classroom. I can’t remember exactly, but I think one teacher handles reading and fine arts and the other does science and math, all across the same weekly theme. One classroom had an audio lab and the other had a computer lab. This set-up seems like a huge perk if you’ve got a stir-crazy kiddo, because the kids are up and moving on a regular basis. The curriculum is accelerated here, too. The main reason we didn’t pick CAC is because it didn’t seem to fit our lifestyle. The school is very small and didn’t offer much in the way of “extra” classes like Spanish (or rollerskating *wink*). Also, we aren’t fans of organized religion, so it was hard for us to think about Carina spending an hour a day on bible study.
We also toured Pulaski Academy, and while they also have a very advanced curriculum and small classroom sizes, we just didn’t get “that feeling” when walking through. PA is a much larger private school, and even the early childhood wing came off as a little too serious. We also had the unfortunate experience of being contacted by a parent whose kindergartener had gotten in trouble while we were visiting his classroom during our tour. The parent wanted me to know that that child had gotten in plenty of trouble for “disrupting our tour”, and the parent hoped that his child’s actions would not deter us from attending PA. Honestly, the parent’s actions probably deterred us. We don’t want Carina in a school where there’s that much pressure.
Certainly, there is a school – public, charter, magnet, montessori, or private – out there for every child. I’m planning to continue doing education-related posts. The next one will talk about preschool resources, since that’s really where all this education business begins. If you have any questions that I can help answer, please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best.
Other posts in this series: