Monday, March 22, 2010

School, school, and more school.

Although he's five already, Orin didn't make the cut off for Kindergarten this year. He's been attending the Temple Israel Nursery School, which I can't say enough good things about. He went there last year too, and loved it. Because he's on the older side, and because I was worried about him getting bored, we signed him up for the Hebrew Immersion class, which meets twice a week after the English class for about 2 hrs, and twice a week from 9-1. Once a week he has just the English class 9-1. So he goes 5 days a week, and half the week he has half days, half the week he goes 9-2:30. I thought in addition to the language development aspect, he would be getting ready for full day 5 days a week Kindergarten, which can otherwise be a big surprise for kids who are going to nursery school 3 days a week, half day. I liked the transition, and I liked the extra time it gave me.

He's been happy with the school, but he surely does complain about having to speak in Hebrew during the Hebrew class! It is actually making him work a little bit, for the first time, and he is feeling it. He is also very good at it. At this point in the year, he can listen and respond in Hebrew to most comments from his teacher (Teacher in Hebrew: You got a haircut, Joshua got a haircut - what's with all this haircuts! Orin in Hebrew: I don't know! Me (in English): Springtime! Teacher in Hebrew: Yes! Pesach!). He can count to thirty easily, knows the names of common classroom/household items, colors, seasons, weather, and songs and dances. He prides himself on being able to help Beckey with her Hebrew homework! Complain comshplaine. He's proud and working hard and this is all good. Even at 5.

So what's to happen for Kindergarten? I considered three private and the public option (no, not THAT public option!). Public is very crowded (24/class), and there is a real emphasis on 1) table skills (worksheets, being quiet, coloring within the lines kind of stuff) 2) hitting goals of public curriculum for Kindergartners (reading readiness, writing skills, adding and subtraction concepts, numerology). There is no science, history, music, art, or language (as in: foreign) requirements, and little is achieved there. Art on a cart, weekly gym and music (until that gets cut with new budget cuts), and a cotton candy party for Thanksgiving. Not what I can call quality, and not going to keep this one engaged. My guess is that unengaged, he will become trouble for the teacher, himself, and the other students. Eek!

Private option 1: too small. Otherwise wonderful, but the classes are teeny.
Private option 2: excellent choice, great class size and nice curriculum, but little in the way of student led learning.
Private option 3: Montessori. The plusses were enormous, the minuses small. And he LOVED his classroom visit. LOVED it. We have made our choice, and are loving that he loves this option. All I can hope for is that he continues to love it long after the agony of the choosing is forgotten.

This is not WHMS, it is the Rockford Montessori Preschool in Michigan. Orin's classroom looks interchangeable, except it has huge feathered headdresses hanging on the wall, and drawn images of the circulatory system on life size cutouts of their little preschool bodies. Pictures of their prenatal sonograms are taped to the door. And there are fish and guinea pigs and a turtle, or maybe it's a frog? There is music playing, and there is wooden furniture, not plastic. Things are labeled in Spanish as well as English, and there are about 1/3 of all the books in the classroom library in Spanish.


end said...


SwedeLife said...

Yeah!! So glad you made a choice, that you found something that feels so right for him! I know this has been a tough one for you, yipee, you are all set.

Andy said...

just spoke w/my neighbor - she says her daughter's class (public neighborhood school) is up to 29 kids! EEK!