My 4 year old son is very smart. (haha, how often do you hear that?) People call him our little attorney as he loves to argue. He also tends to misbehave when he is bored at daycare. He will sit for hours and color, do puzzles or worksheets while many of his 4 year old peers would rather run around. He misses the K cutoff by 13 days, so he will get an extra year of Pre-K next year. Although we have been told by several of his preschool teachers to push for K next year, we will not.
We are looking into Catholic school options as we live in NH and the regional school district we are in does not have the greatest ratings- nor did it do much for my husband or his siblings! I am a wreck trying to wrap my head around the great Catholic school/public school debate. I just want what is best for my son, who I know would do much better in a smaller class setting. I guess what I am asking is what is the best way to truly determine what would suit him best? I do not want to change schools once he is in Kindergarten and the pressure is on to make this giant decision.
From: Carolyn, Plaistow, NH
About the only thing you know for sure when you opt for independent/parochial school is that you will get smaller class sizes than public school and more favorable teacher/student ratio. That usually translates to more personalized attention. Not all kids thrive in such an intense environment although, as a rule, small class size is generally a plus in the early grades. By fifth or sixth grade, especially if there is only one class per grade, those same small classes can be suffocating because there's no room for variety in friendships. It's the same kids all the time.
You also cannot assume that all the teachers will be off-the-charts wonderful. Just because it's independent school, doesn't guarantee there won't be a bad teacher in the mix. It happens.
And will he get a better education because it's a private school? That's a debate that's been around for ages. Test scores continue to give the edge to private schools but, personally, I don't think it's as simple as that. There are so many variables, not the least of which is the child and the fit.
In the interest of full disclosure, my son attended private school from preschool through high school. We started off only wanting to buy him an extra year of preschool, got hooked and never looked back. We have no regrets, but that doesn't mean it's for everyone. Before you make your decision I recommend two things: (1)Spend time in both schools, public and parochial, observing classrooms of several grades. I know it's hard to imagine what your son will be like in a year or three or four. But it will help you to see the inside of the various classrooms. (2) Talk to parents whose kids have gone each route. What have they loved/hated about the school?
I hope we get some comments on this one. I'd love to know if folks agree with me.
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