Which Kindergarten Do I Choose?

Which Kindergarten Do I Choose?

When I was a kid, I went to my neighborhood school. Boom. Done. Easy.
 
Years later, when my son was ready for school, I was paralyzed by all the choices. There is so much more information these days about being a parent, things that kids need, and approaches to education.
 
Drilling down to the school that would work best for my son meant my wife and I had to articulate our values and philosophies surrounding education.

  • What do we want him to get out of school?
  • Who he is as a learner?

My wife and I wanted our son to learn a second language and be in a diverse environment. We found a school that seemed like a good fit. He made good friends there and was learning Spanish. For all the good things, he ultimately started to hate going to school. He is curious and loves reading and learning. We didn’t want him to equate his dislike for school into a dislike for learning. We wanted him to enjoy going to school. We moved him to another school and he loves it. His c current school wasn’t the first choice for us, but it was a great choice for him.
A couple things I know now:

  • There will never be a perfect fit
  • Your “final” choice may have change
  • Your kid is the one who has to go there everyday

We’ll likely move our son again as his interests emerge and we see what he needs to grow as a person and a learner.

I recommend visiting classrooms early in year, so now. Some schools have open houses beginning in October. If you can visit the class on a non-Open-House day, you may get a better feel for how the class runs on a normal day.

Some thoughts on assessing the class during your visit:

  • How you feel in the class? Is it welcoming?
  • Does the teacher’s approach fit with your values/philosophy surrounding education?
  • How are the students responding to the teacher and the material being taught?
  • Is the focus of the school more academic or more about socialization?
  • What type of classroom involvement do you want as a parent?
  • Is there a dress code? Do you care about a dress code?
  • Is the school population diverse or homogeneous?
  • Is the school half-day or full-day?

Something to think about for parents whose kids are near the age cut-off is redshirting which is “the practice of postponing entrance into kindergarten of age-eligible children in order to allow extra time for socioemotional, intellectual, or physical growth. This occurs most frequently where children’s birthdays are so close to the cut-off dates that they are very likely to be among the youngest in their kindergarten class.” source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redshirting_(academic)
 
Below are some options for kindergarten around Salt Lake. Some of the schools have been to CCNS in the past to promote their programs, some schools I’ve heard about from other parents. This list is intended to be informational, not any kind of endorsement for a particular school. (Whew. My lawyer just left.) Now, on with the schools. I’ve tried to link to the school’s admission page, were possible.
 

Open Enrollment

Both Salt Lake City and Granite School Districts offer open enrollment, meaning you can go to a school that is not your neighborhood school. Check with the school itself to find information about enrolling.

Dual Immersion

Part of the day is taught all in English, the other part of the day is taught all in another language like Spanish or French

ELP (Extended Learning Program) or Gifted and Talented

Charter schools

Part of the school district but with some practices that are different than a typical school such as co-oping

Private schools

 
UtahFamily.com has school directories for kindergartens searchable by location.
 
I hope this information is useful. I’d love to hear more about your experiences and recommnedations on the CCNS Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CCNSslc/