Not In Jersey: Why My Kids Have Never Attended a School for Longer Than One Year (Part 2) Why My Kids Have Never Attended a School for Longer Than One Year (Part 2) - Not In Jersey

Why My Kids Have Never Attended a School for Longer Than One Year (Part 2)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In August of 2009, we traveled to Kansas with two goals in mind: find a house and choose a school. We looked at 10 houses and chose the 9th! We also visited 3 preschools as options for Gabbie for pre-K. All 3 schools were Jewish schools - Kansas has lots of Jewish preschools! At the time of our visit, we did not know whether or not Zachary would be attending school as well, but we did look into that option, and he ended up attending school 2 times per week.

Basically, we were looking for a school where Gabbie would get a Jewish education, as well as preparation for kindergarten. School hours were a consideration, as well as whether lunch would be at school. Price was a factor, but not the biggest factor. In the end, we chose the JCC school, which is in the same building as Gabbie's kindergarten and elementary school. In this school:
  • Not every child is Jewish - actually the majority isn't.
  • However, every child learns about Judaism, unlike at the JCC school Gabbie attended in NJ, where the Jewish kids were removed from the classroom for their class.
  • Kosher food was provided for lunch.
  • Preparation for kindergarten was excellent and I was happy with the program overall.
So, Gabbie graduated pre-K and now she is in kindergarten - new school but same building, and hopefully she will remain in this school from now on.

As for Zachary, yet another school change was in order. We started revisiting the other preschools in town because at the JCC school he would attend school until 1 PM, while Gabbie would attend until 2. If I wanted to extend his hours, I would have to pay for full-time care until 6 PM. So we decided another option might work better. Then, the JCC stopped serving kosher food. Not only did they stop kosher food, they started serving non-kosher food. Sure, we could have sent Zachary with his own lunch, but I felt that the JCC no longer cared about us and whether or not we remained at the school - because the reason they were not having everyone bring their lunch was so they wouldn't lose the majority of children whose parents worked full time and didn't have time to make lunch. Instead, they lost us.

At the same time, I began to question whether the JCC was actually providing the Jewish education I wanted Zachary to get. Which is why he now attends the Chabad preschool. In this school:
  • Zachary attends for 5 days at the price he would have only gotten 3 days at the JCC.
  • He gets kosher food for lunch.
  • He goes to school with many of the children from our shul and has become friends with many of them.
  • He is learning brachos, about the weekly parsha, lots about the holidays, etc.
  • He bakes challah on Fridays!
  • However, he is not getting the general studies introduction I would prefer. They are working on their pre-K program and it remains to be seen whether it will sufficiently prepare the children for kindergarten.
So the question now is where Zachary should attend pre-K. Stay at Chabad or return to the JCC? Hopefully I will have this all figured out by the time Simon is old enough for school! Meanwhile, I will try to teach Zachary his letters on my own. So far, he's about as interested in that as he is in using the potty (not at all).