Q: I am trying to pick a school or playgroup to take my three-year old son this month. I am new in the area and I am confused by all the different options.
A: Ory, 34, mother of one responds:
I too found it very difficult trying to sift through all the choices for my son’s schooling. There are so many education styles out there that I was getting worried – ACE, Waldorf, Montessori, 8-4-4…but eventually we decided to just send him to a school near our house which seems like a good school. I felt that at the age of three there was still not a huge rush to put pressure on him or to worry too much about the system of education.
Our criteria for a good school are relationship with the teachers, class size, commuting distance and facilities.
I wanted him to be able to walk to and from school. I also wanted to maximize my time with him every afternoon rather than having him spend it on a school bus doing a long commute. My son’s learning style is one where he prefers not to sit down and listen for long stretches of time. He is usually up and about seemingly doing other stuff. I kept that in mind when deciding to keep him home until he was over three years. That way he is not forced into a rigid learning environment that would make him hate school.
I also personally met with the teacher.
I took time to observe the children interacting in class to make sure this caregiver would provide a pleasant learning environment for my son.
Basically so long as the Kindergarten is near my home, the children are happy learning and there is enough space for them to run around, that is okay for me. I also keenly focused on the teacher’s experience and love for children, as I felt that his class teacher would be spending the most time with him. Once I had a good feeling about this teacher and all these other factors, I settled on a school we are happy with.
When he gets into primary school, the process will become more complex but at least he will have had more experience with structured learning in a classroom environment.
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Patricia Wanjala is a Nairobi Mum. @Triciawanjala FB: TriciasNaturals