My memories of preschool consist of drawing pictures, reading a few stories, and playing in the sandbox. Everyone went to the preschool closest to their house and that was that. How the world has changed….
If you are living in areas like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, you are trying to get your daughter into the right preschool as soon as she gets home from the hospital (if not earlier). With waitlists to manage and $20K+ tuition – preschool is no walk in the park.
The first step is selecting the teaching philosophy that you believe your child will be most successful with. You certainly want your child to grow and mature socially, emotionally, creatively, intellectually, cognitively and physically. You also want your kids to start to learn their numbers and letters, to play respectfully with other kids, to listen to their teachers, and to gain a sense of independence. Most importantly you want them to love going to school.Here are a few different teaching methodologies:
Schools with a project or activity based approach focus on the more traditional idea of a teacher as the guide or instructor and the children as the students. They work together through fun projects and activities as the children gain new skills.
Montessori programs allow children to learn at their own, individual pace and let them select their own activities. There are few, if any, group lessons led by an instructor. You will typically find a range of ages in a classroom so kids are interacting with children older and younger than themselves. There are no grades and no work turned in that gets red marks or stars from the teacher. The focus seems to be on children’s happiness and forming a love of learning through discovery and self-motivation.
Waldorf or Steiner-Waldorf
Waldorf schools emphasize freedom, destiny, creativity and imagination.
For more detailed information about these and other preschool programs check out the Great Schools website.
To find a list of preschools in your area, check out the Great Schools website.
Elementary & High Schools
If you want to search for elementary schools in your area, find out school sizes and read parent feedback, go to the Great Schools website for all of this information and more.
To get access to test scores and demographic information for your area, try School Matters.
Another resource to compare test scores, rankings, student/teacher ratios, and other insightful information for over 120,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in the United States is SchoolDigger.
Attending a boarding school is not for everyone, but for the right child and family it can be a wonderful experience. Boarding schools allow your children to foster strong personal relationships and friendships and gain independence. Most schools offer very low faculty-student ratios and top-notch educations. There are great programs all over the country from Cate School (my alma mater) and The Thatcher School in Southern California to Choate Rosemary Hall and Phillips Academy Andover on the East Coast. Often, the parent-child separation is harder on the moms than the kids!
For a full directory of boarding schools in the U.S. you may want to start with the Boarding School Review website.
To prepare for the SSAT test which is required by most boarding schools and many private schools check out Kaplan.
Finding the Best College for your Child
The first step to college admissions is actually deciding what schools your child should apply to. There are many factors to consider including location, tuition costs, financial aid, areas of speciality, class size, overseas programs, quality of instruction and more. When you are ready to begin researching schools, here are a few resources to help you get started.
Unigo – college reviews by college students
It may also help to stock up on some of the latest books on college admissions.
The Dreaded SAT
Taking (and doing well on) standardized tests is a specialized skill. You can have an incredibly gifted child who excels in school, the arts, sports and the theatre but can not take a standardized test. Given the competitive landscape for college admissions, many parents are looking to professionals to help prepare their child for the SAT, ACT and other standardized tests.
Scholarships & Financial Aid
The expense of college is only going to grow and grow. FastWeb is a great place to start. You can find information on over a million different scholarships worth over a billion dollars. That’s a lot of money.
Recruiting for College Sports
If your child happens to be a phenomenal athlete, this may help open the doors to many colleges. Not only can your child’s athletic skills get your her admitted to college, it might be a great way to obtain financial aid as well. There are a number of online resources to help your child get noticed by college recruiters.
The Future of Education
When researching the topic of education I found this particular site to be really interesting. I hope you do too. Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Usable Knowledge – “connecting research and practice for leaders in education.”
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