Lael went to daycare on base from 6 weeks until 2 months prior to her 4th birthday. She could have stayed in daycare another year and started Kindergarten at almost 5 but me and her teachers saw that extra something in her that screamed of her need to go to school.
In DC a lot of the schools have all day Pre-K. Back in 2006, your child could start Pre-K as long as they turned 4 by Dec 31st. Shortly thereafter that they changed the cutoff to Sep 30th. Plenty of parents didn’t get the notice so they allowed it for 1 more year. That put us at 2007 when Lael was 3. She was allowed to start Pre-K at 3 because she turned 4 in October. Because of the short notice I had I was not able to secure her a spot in one of the “good” schools.
DC is separated by wards and your child is supposed to attend a school in their Ward unless you apply for the Out-Of-Boundary lottery. It’s basically an online system where you pick your top 5 out of bounds schools and they randomly give away the spots.
I didn’t have time to enter this lottery so I physically visited 10-12 schools and then filtered it to a few that I thought would be the most beneficial to Lael. I wasn’t able to get her into my top few choices but the school I ended up enrolling her in turned out to be everything I could have wanted. While the school itself was really old, the staff was seasoned and her teacher was one that I adored!
Lael ended up staying there for Pre-K and most of Kindergarten. She was reading before the end of Pre-K and by K she was reading and writing full sentences. I could not have been happier. Except in the back of my head I knew she had to move on to another school. You see the school I got her in only went up to Kindergarten. I fished around again and was able to get her a spot in one of those “good” schools I had looked at a few years earlier. They didn’t have a spot for her for the 1st graded but one school said that if I transferred her out of the school she was in they could give her a Kindergarten spot and that would secure her for a 1st grade spot.
I did it. I felt horrible but I did it anyway. I moved Lael out of school in April to this other school. They welcomed her with open arms and she expressed that she missed her old school but not enough to go back. I finally felt as if I had made a wise choice.
Then I got a voicemail Thursday. One of the other schools that is considered to be more prestigious had opened up a spot they wanted Lael to fill it. What to do?
I had just transferred her in April and the lady there had bent over backwards to get her a spot. She liked the school, should I move her again? I pondered over it all weekend and decided that I’m going to leave her where she is. It’s a great school in a great neighborhood and I think she will do just great.
Is it the right decision? I don’t know. What I do know is that there will always be something better that comes along and sometimes you have to decide when good is enough and I’ve thrown in the towel.
I hope it’s the right choice……