The Daughter Chronicles

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Norah's new school!

A few weeks ago, we received a advertisement in the mail about a new school not too far from where we live. It's actually not a new school - the school buildings are actually built, but a different school is moving in. It's still going to be a Mesa Public School, but within the district, there's a subset of schools called Benjamin Franklin Schools, which are, apparently, a bit accelerated and a bit stricter than the regular schools. We decided to give it a look just for fun, and Krys was fairly impressed with what they had to offer (she went to the presentation, but I had to stay home with the kids). The curriculum is harder and they don't let the kids run wild, which is always nice to see. In order to register her, we had to go to the presentation and observe their classes for two (2) hours. Sheesh! So last week I went on a couple of days to watch both the kindergarten classes and some of the higher classes. That done, today we registered Ms. Norah. Should be fun!

The observation was interesting. I have no idea what they're teaching kids in kindergarten these days, so I wasn't sure how accelerated they really were. They were teaching kids about symmetry with shapes, which seems a bit tough, but other than that, I couldn't really tell if what they were learning was so much harder than what she would learn in a "regular" classroom. Similarly, I couldn't even tell if the fourth- and sixth-graders were doing so much more than in a regular class. However, they were very well behaved. The kids were quiet and did what the teacher told them when they were told to do it - there was a bit of fuss, as they're still five- and six-year-olds, but not too much - and they listened very attentively. The schools have a not-too-strict dress code (no shorts, everything below the knees, that sort of thing), which is also keen. They emphasize the basics, of course, but they also have a lot of artistic and poetry projects. It seems like a good place. The school also makes sure the parents are involved, too, which I have no problem with whatsoever.

We think it will be good for Norah, too. I have no idea how smart she is (as her father, I'm probably a bit biased), but I think she can handle the "accelerated" curriculum. She is also, we think, able to handle the more rigorous discipline in the school. She seems to have the personality to deal with it. She's not a wild kid by any means, so I don't think she "needs" a tougher structure, but it's never a bad idea. I asked her pre-school teachers how she's doing with the work in her class, and they said she's gotten very good at sitting and doing her tasks without being distracted. Good to know!

So we'll see how she does in this school. She's looking forward very much to going to kindergarten and is bummed that it's still four months away. We're optimistic about the new school, and we'll be happy to help out with whatever she needs!


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