I started researching preschools, as we feel that Davey's probably ready for that transition now, at 27 months old. I've been asking friends for feedback, recommendations and warnings, as well as asking for the same from the admissions director of Marin Country Day School (who was a middle school teacher there when I was in middle school there) and from a friend who is a music teacher at MCDS. It's come down to several positive recommendations for:
Ice Cream and Shoe (Terra Linda)
Montessori de Terra Linda
Marin Day School - downtown San Rafael location
Marin Day School - Marinwood location
I've had one recommendation for Good Shepherd in Novato, but it is a denominational preschool and we simply don't want any specific religion as part of Davey's schooling. There was one, "I heard Miss Sandie's in Novato is okay," type of recommendation. That's about it for Novato, however.
We've got a visit scheduled for Mark, Davey and I at Ice Cream and Shoe on February 10. They'll accept applications for sometime after that date, but not much longer. They work on a year-round school schedule, with a new session starting in Summer (July?).
I went to the open house for Montessori de Terra Linda last Saturday morning and, I have to say, I was impressed. I can see how the Montessori method could be great for kids and how I think it'd be a lot of fun to learn with that method. My concerns with it, however, are:
- They want parents to commit to Kindergarten because he would be in a mixed 3-6 year old class. Leaving before Kindergarten would deprive him of the chance to be the "big kid" and mentor the little kids, something he'd be growing towards the first two years. On the other hand, most private schools, such as MCDS, have open enrollment for Kindergarten and beyond that, the only openings are for then children leave the class.
- What if he's not interested in playing/learning all the different topics? I.e. the other little boy Marina watches is 6 and has been going to Montessori for several years. He still doesn't read or know his A-B-C's. I'm sure he'll eventually learn them, but... would I want that for Davey?
Mark and I are going on a two hour or so tour of the Montessori school tomorrow, where we'll see the classes in session and how the children learn/play/interrelate and how the teachers lead the classes.
Thursday Mark, Davey and I will tour both of the Marin Day School campuses and see what we think. The Marinwood location doesn't have any openings until Summer, when they move to a larger campus. The downtown San Rafael location could pretty quickly accept Davey on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, but are full on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Meanwhile, Mark is getting in touch with people advertizing their nanny services on Craigslist, just in case...
Wish us luck!!