Monday, January 14, 2008

Start your engines and get on those elbow pads...

...it's Kindergarten registration day!

I'm just getting used to the fact that my baby is now 3 years old, but because she was born late in the year, she is actually eligible to start Junior Kindergarten (JK) this year.

Now I had heard through other moms that last year's kindergarten registration was quite busy, and not terribly organized. In fact, there was a bit of controversy because for the first time the school was offering a new schedule. For years it has been a half-day program, either in the morning or in the afternoon, for both years of kindergarten. The new offering, because there were enough parents wanting it, is full day, alternate days (with alternating Fridays). I believe that our school is one of the few in this region that actually still offer the half day schedule. So when there's choice, there's controversy, because not everyone will get what they want.

My feeling is that the half day is really better for kids this young. Most are still napping when they're 4 years old; at least L was, and G doesn't look like she'll be ready to give that afternoon sleep up completely before September. And I think that a full day is a long time for such little people to keep their focus; and for the teachers to keep up. It cannot be easy to teach and keep twenty 4 and 5 year olds engaged for an entire school day.

In addition, they split the class up with half JK and half SK; so your child stays with the same teacher for both years. This factors very much into the equation. You want to make sure you get a good teacher if there's any way to make that happen.

And I really want to get my son's JK/SK teacher for little G. Mrs. A, who is fantastic. Of course I'm not the only one who thinks so. In L's kindergarten class, I would say at least half of the kids were teachers' offspring. Tells you a lot about who the good teacher might be, doesn't it? I volunteered with her class for two years, including after G was born, and she always welcomed the baby to all of the kindergarten celebrations. She wanted G to know that JK/SK is really just one big party, after all. Well, not really - she's a tough cookie, but just excellent. We just lucked out when I registered L, but I wasn't going to rely on pure luck again. There are literally only 10 places for JK in her class.

Registration was to begin at 9:30 AM, but I was determined to get there no later than 8:30. Sure enough, G decided to sleep in today of all days. Mind you, she's got a cold so she really needed the sleep. As I scrambled upstairs to get her awake, the phone rang. It was my friend Wendy, who'd just dropped off her son at daycare at the school, calling to let me know that she saw four people already waiting in the hall! Panic! I managed to get my screaming, squirming 3 year old dressed and in the car in record time. I was going to drive L too, but he felt it might be easier for me for him to take the bus, so he decided to wait for it (he's such a considerate kid, it's unbelievable to me that he's still only 7 years old, sometimes).

I got to the school, and luckily was able to find parking because it was a little early. Rushed in, and lo and behold, was probably parent number 8. Remember, it is about 8:40 am now. I met up with a couple of parents that I knew, one a neighbour who's youngest will be starting this year too. He kindly offered me his seat, while everyone mentally took note of my place in the sequence.

The mood was quite collegial, and then more parents started coming in, standing around in the hall. Now it was a crowd. When the principal came out with the registration paperwork to be spread out on the table, there was this huge rush up to him. He had to tell people to remember their place; honestly, some people had just walked through the door and walked straight up - while others (including my neighbour) had been there since 8 AM! Things did settle down eventually, but it was still a bit crazy. They really should think about giving numbers out (which sounds ridiculous, I mean it's school registration and not a lottery, but it felt like a lottery!).

As it happens, thanks to my friend Wendy, I had checked online a little while ago and found the main document to be completed. So with that already filled out, I fortuitously ended up as the second parent in line with the completed package.

Whew! Now I just have to cross my fingers that we'll get a spot with Mrs. A. We won't find that out until May.

Once that stress is settled, then I can get back to stressing over the fact that my baby is starting school in nine months.

6 comments:

Ginaagain said...

Oh I remember those days... Actually I only stood in line to register my youngest because I desperately wanted to get her into the Fine Arts Magnet. I was number six in line (and I arrived at 4am!)
I hope you get the teacher you want.

Family Adventure said...

Wow, Karen...we thought we had it bad, but reading Ginaagain's post, I guess not quite so bad, huh? I'm sure you'll get Mrs. A - number 8th in line should guarantee that! Good job! :)

Heidi

Beth said...

It's good to have friends like Wendy!

Badness Jones said...

The Princess started JK in September, and our school only offers the full/alternate day schedule. This has worked for us, because the Princess was used to full days from her Montessori daycare, and it's nice for me to have full days to do things with her, (and full days to do things WITHOUT her!) but she is completely bagged at the end of the day....especially the weeks she goes 3 times....

Good luck getting the teacher you want for Giselle, but I think she'll do fine wherever she's put....she seems like an awfully bright and likeable kid!

bec said...

Awww...I so didn't want to read this post LOLOL...hard to imagine our girls are soooo grown up already!!! If dd was born 5 days earlier, I'd be going through the same thing now. I hope that it all works out the way that you hope it does, too. On a positive note, it looks like it will.

As for the full day/half day, I was all for the half day program but the only way to get it was to switch school boards to get the other school in our district. Ds did the full day and it worked out really well to my astonishment...I did miss having him home for lunches, but he enjoyed being with his friends and I found so much to cram my days with on his days at school, the time flew by.

melissa said...

I used to help run a preschool program for ages 3-5. On registration day, we would have people show up at 3 or 4 in the morning. It was insane.

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