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    #143798 - 12/01/12 05:16 PM Re: Getting picked on -- starting already? [Re: Dude]
    CCN Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/25/12
    Posts: 978
    Loc: BC, Canada
    Originally Posted By: Dude
    The alleged social benefits of public school are actually a social hindrance, because of the toxic environment, IMO.


    Yup. No one thinks of this, though, when they criticize home schoolers for denying their kids the common school social experience. It's almost as if they see being bullied in public school as some kind of rite of passage. The pack mentality rears its ugly head. sigh.

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    #144003 - 12/05/12 07:00 AM Re: Getting picked on -- starting already? [Re: CCN]
    MegMeg Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/14/10
    Posts: 615
    Update: holding my breath!

    Went to an open house for my top choice of private school for next year, and it turns out that right now they have a mid-year opening in K. They sounded cautiously open to discussing taking Hanni early (she'll be 4y8mo in Jan). I have a meeting with them on Thursday.

    This school just seems awesome. It's tiny -- 48 students for K-6 -- with just four "classes" that are roughly grouped by age/ability (e.g. this year there's a K-1 group and a 1-2 group, and then a 3-4 group and a 5-6 group). Every kid gets to work at their own ability level, so they have kids in "2nd grade" working on the 4th grade math book, or whatever. They offer a rich program in the arts, writing, science.

    And best of all from my perspective, they have successfully created a culture of "nice kids go here." They expect families to be self-selecting for this value when they enroll, they work hard to build community once the kids are there, and if a kid is an ongoing problem they are asked to leave.

    Just hearing this made me want to cry with relief. I had a long conversation with Hanni's preschool staff, and they were so nice and sympathetic about the situation, but it was all about "helping the kids work through this" and "they get through it eventually" and "we have a particularly challenging group of kids this year" and even "Kid X has been picked on by her older sister and is working through her issues." I can totally see their point of view, in that they are a feeder school for the public schools and larger private schools and they have lots of families with siblings who are passing down the Lord of the Flies ethos. If they tried to expel every kid who was bringing that into the preschool they'd be out of business. But that doesn't make it RIGHT. And that's where they almost had me. They almost had me buying that viewpoint that this is just the way it is at this age and they are all learning how to manage these issues etc.

    But then I look at Awesome Little Private School, where no one has siblings in public school, and where they have successfully managed to keep out the Lord of the Flies. And I think, YES. It CAN be this way, I could take Hanni completely out of that environment at a single stroke, and there is nothing "unnatural" or "unrealistic" about it.

    Trying not to get too invested in this scenario. Hanni may bomb the assessment -- I'm going to be bringing her along to the meeting and they're going to be looking for whether she's ready for K in social-emotional terms. Honestly, she's a totally normal 4.5 year old in emotional development. She may just not be ready.

    Thanks so much everyone for listening, and thanks for all your great replies.

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    #144025 - 12/05/12 09:36 AM Re: Getting picked on -- starting already? [Re: MegMeg]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: MegMeg
    I can totally see their point of view, in that they are a feeder school for the public schools and larger private schools and they have lots of families with siblings who are passing down the Lord of the Flies ethos. If they tried to expel every kid who was bringing that into the preschool they'd be out of business. But that doesn't make it RIGHT. And that's where they almost had me. They almost had me buying that viewpoint that this is just the way it is at this age and they are all learning how to manage these issues etc.


    See, I don't agree with the idea that "this is how it is" at a certain age. If teachers enforce rules appropriately, preschoolers will get in line. My kids went to a daycare place run by a woman who would not accept this kind of thing. If a child was mean to another one, she'd send the mean kid off on time-out and explain that "This isn't how we play here. We're all nice to each other. If you can't be nice to the other kids, you can play all by yourself." And she meant it. She was very, very effective, and trained her staff to use the same approach.

    I realize that if it's a very big school, this gets harder, but still, they're, you know, preschoolers. Kids at that age are very malleable.

    Good luck with the private school. Keep us posted.


    Edited by Val (12/05/12 09:37 AM)

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    #144143 - 12/06/12 05:23 PM Thrilled! Terrified! (was: Getting picked on) [Re: Val]
    MegMeg Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/14/10
    Posts: 615
    Hanni just got accepted to Awesome Little School for mid-year jumping into kindergarten. Now I have to make a decision!

    I met with the two lead teachers. One of them enticed Hanni away and chatted with her, while the other teacher proceeded to terrify me with all the reasons why it would be bad to jump a 4.5 year old into the middle of a kindergarten year. While trying to make it clear that I wasn't trying to be a pushy parent or talk her out of her professional opinion (because if it's going to be a bad idea I want to know that), I tried to fill her in on what Hanni is like. She started to say things like "You're starting to talk me into it," which made me terrified that I was talking her into the wrong thing, and then the other teacher came back with Hanni and said "she's brilliant" and "we'd be delighted to have her starting in January." The other teacher quickly assured me that she was on board and trusted her colleague's opinion after assessing Hanni.

    AAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

    What if I'm making a terrible mistake???

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    #144148 - 12/06/12 06:09 PM Re: Thrilled! Terrified! (was: Getting picked on) [Re: MegMeg]
    petunia Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/17/11
    Posts: 146
    I know it's scary to make a big decision like this. Look at the extremes, though. What's the best that could happen? The worst? Can you handle both those? You aren't investing a huge amount of money (like buying a new house and moving to a new school district) nor are you making a non-reversible decision. If it works, that's great! If not, then you do something else. After all, it is Kindergarten and lots of kids do Kindergarten twice (red-shirting) so you can always move her to a different Kindergarten or put her in the public Kindergarten in the fall.

    I know it's easy for me to say. I made the decision for mine to skip 2nd grade and was very comfortable with it until this year (7th grade) when he's with kids in band who are 3 years older than he is, but he's happy with the skip and it has been good for him. I don't really regret it; I just wish sometimes he could have stayed "little" longer.

    Good luck with your decision!
    _________________________
    What I am is good enough, if I would only be it openly. ~Carl Rogers

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    #144150 - 12/06/12 06:58 PM Re: Thrilled! Terrified! (was: Getting picked on) [Re: MegMeg]
    ultramarina Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/24/10
    Posts: 3428
    I think the school sounds lovely. But...I don't know if I would fully buy 100% into the "only nice kids" part. I feel like advertising that they kick the mean ones out wouldn't sell me. I'd be a lot more interested in a school with a great mediation program, a lot of evidence of cross-grade friendships, etc.

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    #144153 - 12/06/12 07:22 PM Re: Thrilled! Terrified! (was: Getting picked on) [Re: MegMeg]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3296
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: MegMeg
    What if I'm making a terrible mistake???


    Hmm. Here are some random thoughts.

    1. I read through some of your old posts on this subject. It looks like you've considered this idea pretty carefully for a long time. Great!

    2. It's a very small school. My kids went to very small schools for a while, and for them at least, it was a wonderful experience (now the two youngest go to a "big" school with around 125 kids in preK-8). The school you've described sounds big enough that there will be a solid number of kids in your daughter's class, yet the numbers will be a long way from inhibiting individualized attention.

    3. Your daughter's experiences with the pre-school sound, err...sub-optimal. How bad are those problems compared with the unknown of a mid-year grade skip?

    4. How does your daughter feel about all this?

    5. Grade skips can seem weird and even scary at first. You're moving into unknown territory and going against the conventional wisdom. It feels strange (yet exhilarating). I know; I've been there. smile Try to remember that your daughter isn't like most other kids, and therefore, the conventional wisdom may not apply to her. Also, little kids tend to be quite accepting in situations like this. If the grownups said that Hanni should be in this class, they must be right. Hi, Hanni! This is where we put our coats! Wanna play?

    The only way you can know if the skip will work is to try it. Everything else is just speculation.


    Edited by Val (12/06/12 07:35 PM)

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    #144156 - 12/06/12 11:40 PM Re: Thrilled! Terrified! (was: Getting picked on) [Re: MegMeg]
    ColinsMum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/08
    Posts: 1898
    Loc: Scotland
    If the teachers think she'll be fine, and it sounds as though they do, she'll be fine. Remember that 4.5 is young to start K in the US but not considered too young to be in that kind of environment everywhere. Here a child who is 4.5 by the start of a school year starts by default, and it doesn't sound as though the expectations are lower than for US K. (This system has its problems, I think, in that not all children are ready at this age, but anyway enough are that a system based on this assumption isn't a disaster.)


    Edited by ColinsMum (12/06/12 11:42 PM)
    _________________________
    Email: my username, followed by 2, at google's mail

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    #144159 - 12/07/12 04:38 AM Re: Thrilled! Terrified! (was: Getting picked on) [Re: MegMeg]
    DeeDee Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/16/10
    Posts: 2498
    Originally Posted By: MegMeg

    AAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

    What if I'm making a terrible mistake???


    It doesn't sound like a terrible mistake. And if it is, you'll find a way to fix it. That's kind of how it goes, I think. You make the best choice you can, and from what you've written, this sounds good to me.

    DeeDee

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    #144206 - 12/07/12 12:35 PM Re: Thrilled! Terrified! (was: Getting picked on) [Re: MegMeg]
    MegMeg Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/14/10
    Posts: 615
    Thank you all, for talking me back down! I've called the school and told them yes, and I'm going to be talking to the director of the preschool this afternoon to tell her that I'm pulling Hanni out.

    I feel a bit like I did when I decided to get pregnant. Like, this is INSANE, how can anyone possibly make this kind of life-changing decision, but on the other hand, I know that I'm not going to decide to NOT do it. So I might as well go ahead and do it.

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