If you'd have asked me last year this time, I would have told you we were sending Edie to public school kindergarten this Fall. Her birthday falls just 2 days before the Kindergarten cut-off date in Washington so it was our decision whether to send her as the youngest kid in the school or wait a year and send her 2-3 days after her 6th birthday.
I think if we were living in a smaller town, all of these decisions would feel more manageable (read: if we lived in Bellingham, I'm pretty sure Edie would be in Kindergarten right now). Without writing out every little detail that went into this decision, I'll just say that Seattle's zoning system is a hot mess, the individual schools are hard to get information from, and parents in this city have become very paranoid about waiting as long as possible to start kindergarten (thanks Malcolm Gladwell). There is also the fact that as a parent of a 5 year old, I am repeatedly told by parents with older kids that getting your very little children tested into AP programs as early as possible is apparently your best bet at having a positive experience in the public school system long term. This further contributes to people waiting for kindergarten in an attempt to give their kids an extra year to place into AP schools at the KINDERGARTEN LEVEL… it's cray cray. It's enough to make you look into private schools. Which all require that kids turn 5 in June, so no dice on that one this year either.
THANKFULLY, we are so very happy at our current school and knowing that this conundrum might come up this year, we chose it almost 2 years ago for it's amazing "5's" program. The 5's class is really like a mini kindergarten, in fact it's possible for kids after being in the 5's to test directly into public school 1st grade if the teachers recommend it. Which means there's a small chance that this could actually BE kindergarten for her. All the children in her 5's class have birthdays between June and October 15th, so it's been a birthday bonanza these last few weeks as all the kids turn 5 with Edie. There are only 14 kids in the class and they have a dedicated teacher and full time assistant, plus they get to continue their daily French lessons with her favorite preschool teacher and spend all day on Fridays baking and doing art and pottery. The 5's building is next door to the preschool and they have a different curriculum that I'm gathering tidbits about from Edie each night. Curriculum night at the school is in a week or two, so I'm looking forward to learning more then.
Sadly, it's already time to start thinking about public vs private kindergarten for NEXT year. Which seems absolutely ridiculous but I assure you is absolutely true. All the elementary schools start open house nights in the Fall and testing for AP programs and private schools needs to happen before application/sign up time, which is in Winter. It feels like just yesterday when my brain exploded while researching all this stuff last year and now here I am facing it down again. Blergh.
But at least this time I can go into it with a bit more confidence that my tiny, 32 pound unicorn of a child will be able to hold her own next year no matter where we put her.