OK, parents of preschoolers, the time has come.
It’s time to get focused and develop your strategic game plan (if you haven’t already). It’s time to determine how you can cram into your day (and evening) planner as many open houses as humanly possible.
This is what you have longed for, prepped for, and fretted over for years now. The time is NOW to compile stacks of background information, registration forms, and applications from the plethora of elementary educational institutions in the Decatur and Avondale Estates communities.
WHY, you may ask? Because you are a loving, concerned parent, of course (duh)! And you “only want the best education possible for your child.”
Your mind is immediately cluttered with … “What type of classroom environment does she need? What educational model will work best for him? Charter school or private? City schools or county? There are so many options and choices, what is an over functioning parent to do?!”
These are the thoughts that consume you; they keep you awake at night. Seriously, like every night (since your child was but a few weeks old).
First, stop. Breathe. Stop the fret, and do something about it. From a parent, who has “been there, done that” (and lived to tell about), here are a few helpful hints.
- Attend open houses – January is jam-packed with open houses specifically designed for inquiring parents. Here are a few helpful links for you: The Museum School of Avondale Estates, St. Thomas Moore, City of Decatur Schools, Avondale Elementary, The Friends School, The Waldorf School, Paideia, Intown Community School, Decatur First United Methodist Kindergarten, Cliff Valley School, and Decatur Presbyterian Kindergarten. (Please note: this is not an exhaustive list, but merely a starting point.)
- Talk to other parents – These folks have been in your shoes. Ask them how they chose their school. What do and don’t they like? How does their child like the school? How large are the classes? What is the teacher-to-student ratio? Is there a uniform policy?
- Conduct an observational “drive by” while school is in session – What do you see? Is it well-organized? Do you see parents? Is school leadership in control of the ebb and flow of the carpool? Does the school facility and grounds appear to be well-maintained?
- Make a list of pros and cons – These are personal and will vary according to what is important to you. But this list helps nonetheless. And it makes you stop and prioritize.
- Determine what is realistic and what makes sense for your family – Is the school conveniently located to your home? Can you afford the tuition? If one child in your family is accepted, does this mean that the rest of your children are automatically “in” if an opening exists?
- Trust your gut (or woman’s intuition) – Somewhere deep down, you have a sense of where you (and your child) would be a good fit. Maybe it is the “vibe” that you get when you walk through the halls of the school. Maybe it is the sense you get when you meet with a school’s principal and faculty or with other parents Maybe it’s just something that you “know” when you see kids playing on the playground … or the artwork featured on the school’s walls. But somehow you find yourself “leaning” towards a school …
Now, once you have identified your school or schools of choice (always helpful to have a backup), you move on to the most important step. Fill out the application form neatly and completely. And please – above all else – do not let it sit on your counter with the rest of the mail and eventual “to-dos.” This will not get your child accepted. Slap on a stamp and mail it today. Or better yet, hand-deliver it with an enthusiastic and relieved smile on your face. For you have done your due diligence.
Now, all you have to do is wait. And what is really hard about that? :)