Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Showcase of Schools - Dec. 13

I entered the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury with that deer-in-headlights look. It was a lot to take in. All of the schools in all zones were represented, and I visited most tables. By the time I was ready to leave several hours later, my bag was several pounds heavier and my eyes felt pretty glazed over.

When I came home and plopped my goodie bag full of school brochures and handouts on the couch, my husband said, “Wow. That’s a lot of recyclables.” Close, but not quite. This would have been more accurate: “Wow. That’s a lot of stuff that will sit in the corner of our office for a year and then be recycled.”

I took this opportunity to investigate some schools I hadn’t yet visited. The Haley folks had a boat in their booth. Kids built boats that actually float and carry people. Man, I had trouble building a proper picture frame in eighth-grade shop, much less a boat. I’m going to try to attend their open house on Thursday, but I’m not certain I can squeeze it into my schedule. That one may have to wait until January.

I spent quite a bit of time speaking with the Haynes Early Education Center. I hadn’t seriously considered enrolling my son in K0 next year, but after speaking with the Haynes people, I gave it some more thought. The Haynes is the only school that offers K0 in the west zone.

My notes aren’t entirely clear, but it looks like there are 13-15 regular ed spots in K0,15 in K1, and 25 in K2. There are also spaces for special education and bilingual students. Special education students are taught alongside regular education students, while bilingual students have their own classrooms. The K0 curriculum appears quite similar to that of K1.

In addition, all students at Haynes can learn violin, which is pretty darn cool, but I can’t imagine what a 3-year-old learning violin would sound like, much less a room full of 3-year-olds. My eardrums hurt thinking about it.

In the end, I don’t think I’ll enter the lottery for K0 next year. We’re very happy at our preschool, and as much as I’d like to save money on tuition next year, I think it’s probably more important for us to minimize the number of school transitions at this age. Honestly, I’m not too keen on bussing my 3-year-old all the way out to Blue Hill Ave. I also feel like there are probably other Boston parents who don’t have access to quality early education programs who would be better served by the Haynes.

Toward the end of my afternoon at the showcase, I discovered a booth for Boston Navigator. It’s a website that locates after-school programs throughout the city by a child’s age and zip code. Right now, they don’t include 4-year-olds or before-school programs.

In my view, the showcase is definitely an optional event, but it’s good if you haven’t done any school tours and want the quick and dirty on a bunch of schools at once.


Grazier Photography said...

I noticed that you don't have many comments here, but I just wanted to thank you for your insightful reviews - I check your blog daily as we're mulling over k0 and k2 options for next year. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

SH said...

If you are at all thinking about K0, I encourage you to go check out the Haynes EEC. I was at their open house today (I was the only parent there). The building is AMAZING. It was built to house an EEC program - the classes are bright and organized, they have a beautiful cafeteria, gym, playground... I wish all the schools looked like this. The kids were doing interesting stuff and just truly engaged. There are 15 slots of regular ed for K0, but only 5 slots for K1 (the class size increases to 20 at K1). the program runs from 7:30am to 5pm and it's all free. Mandatory hours are 8:35 -2:35. Buses drop off at 8:30 and pick up at 5. I was really impressed by the program. They have music, dance and science twice a week (each). They go out three times a days (weather permitting). Because many of the students live in the walk zone they have a lot more transfer options in the 2nd grade - they are on the border of the east zone, so they have those schools open to them as well. The parent coordinator didn't have a whole lot to say about the transfer issue.
Thanks for writing your blog.