I enjoy meeting parents who are looking for the perfect school for their child. I appreciate their intentions and I can understand their fears. They want their child to be safe, make life-long friends, learn, and start their school career on the right track. This is admirable that they are taking the initiative to make the most informed choice in a school for their child.
If the child is transferring from another school, I like to ask parents why they are leaving. Did they really try to work it with the teacher, counselor, administrator or are they just leaving and hoping for a better result somewhere else. I caution them that switching schools is a big deal and that it should really be the last resort if they weren't able to resolve the problem.
When parents are enrolling their Kindergartner, I always give these 5 recommendations:
- Attend Open House, join the PTA, and sign-up for one of the committees. This will get you involved and hep you meet other parents. Attend school functions and meet other parents. This will show your child that you are also a part of the school.
- Play on the playground over the summer. Bring a picnic lunch. You will probably meet other parents and this will be a great way for your child to familiarize their self with our campus.
- If your child has never attended a preschool, you need to start practicing being apart. Let them join a day camp over the summer in an area of interest to them. If you've never had a babysitter, this is the time to start. They need to get used to other adults in authority.
- Read to your child. Ask them what they think is going to happen next. What are their favorite parts of the story? How many details in the story can they remember when they retell you the story?
- If the child has ADD, Asperger's Syndrome, Anxiety Disorder, or any other health concerns, I recommend for the parents to email the principal over the summer to request the best teacher placement for their child. I suggest for them to request: a teacher who will not be leaving for maternity leave for 6-8 weeks and have a substitute teacher, a teacher who will not be retiring in the middle of the year and have a replacement, and a teacher who is firm and consistent while also caring and compassionate. Most principals have an idea of teachers who are leaving for maternity leave, retiring, and who works best with students need the structure.