Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Not Panicking Yet

All over the internet, parents are blogging about taking their kids to kindergarten orientation. I wish I was doing the same. I called the school office to check today, to make sure we hadn’t missed some kind of announcement, and no, we hadn’t.

Apparently, we’ll get a welcome letter in July, inviting us to an orientation in mid-August, the day before school starts. And that’s the day we find out whether Q-ster is in the 8:30am-12 class or the 10:30am-2:30pm class. That’s right, we won’t know what hours he’ll be in school until the day before school starts.

My guess is that the schedule is designed so there’s no time for parents to complain about a placement. It’s kind of irritating. I can understand wanting to balance the girls to boys ratio, but no one’s gender is going change between registration and school start. If they’re going to do classroom balancing by personality type, they can’t evaluate that until they see the children anyway. I would be surprised if there’s mass movement into and out of the district in those weeks in August, but I suppose it’s possible the school is waiting until the last minute to adjust for that kind of enrollment change.

We can live with either placement, but I wish I could help Q-ster mentally prepare for what his day is going to be like, whether he will be eating lunch at school, to know whether we should start collecting lunch packing ideas. I can’t even sign up his little brother for activities until I know whether they interfere with pick-up and drop-off for kindergarten . . . the day before school starts.

When I turned in the registration form, the school administrator said that 95% of the requests were for the “early bird” class, which I also prefer, since I have a better chance of volunteering and interacting with the teacher on that schedule.

If he ends up in the “late bird” class, we’re lucky that Nanny J can do the drop-off for us, but I don’t know what many working parents do if they’re trying to arrange afterschool care and now they suddenly need two hours of before-school care too.

So it begins, the bureaucracy of school. We moved into this district because of the phenomenal school program, so I have to have faith that they know what they’re doing.

It would be great to know at least one family who attends the elementary school, but all our neighbors have teenage children. I crashed a PTA meeting in January and met the principal, but it seems that while there’s a high level of parent participation in the classroom, PTA meetings are not well attended.

This is where an orientation event would help – I could talk with other parents and Q-ster could meet a potential friend or two. His preschool pals are heading to four different elementary schools, and not a single one of them will be going to his school.

I just have to tell myself that we’re all resilient and that Q-ster will be fine, regardless of what he gets for a schedule. He’s a little less shy and better able to make friends than the last time he changed schools, at age 3. He can wear a Lego Star Wars t-shirt to class sometime that first week to help strike up conversations with other fellow fans. We’ll talk about the two ways he might be going to school next year, and how exciting it will be to do SCIENCE and other projects, even though not knowing the details makes his mommy twitch.


mayberry said...

That makes ZERO sense to me, for all the reasons you outlined (prepping kids, arranging for wrap-around child care, planning for other kids'/family activities). Wow. Surely they could tell you earlier and just say "No changes will be allowed" and stick to it.

Anonymous said...

Wow! As a planner, that kind of short notice would drive me BONKERS. At our registration the secretary told me we'd get our placement letters in early July, which is fine because kindergarten starts the day after Labour Day here, giving us 2 months. We requested the afternoon class anyways, so I doubt there will be an issue.

As for orientation, we have ours at the end of May. And I am hyper-ventilating. Doing it well in advance IS good, but it is also driving home to me how fast it's coming. And I am maybe just not entirely ready myself.

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

I'm sure as you said, Q-ster will be fine, but yeah, that's really irritating! Can't imagine leaving people in limbo like that.