As the info trickles in I am feeling worse and worse about our Kindergarten dilemma. Part of what's KILLING me is that Eric was supposed to be born in August. He was a week late. It was the worst week of my life, seconded only by the extra week I was pregnant with his sister! At the time, I assumed that the kindergarten cut off was September 1 because that's what it is in Cambridge. Then I looked it up. It was August 31 in Somerville. But surely there was a way around it, right? Nope.
So, we've been looking into our options. Eric has been the youngest kid in his class since he started group care when he was 13 months old. He's always held his own. Cognitively he's ahead of the older kids in some areas and behind them in others. He has been thriving consistently in this environment. He just started in the preschool room at his current school and he's doing GREAT. He's making friends and behaving himself. He's learning a lot. But if the Somerville Public Schools have their way, he'd be there, or in a comparable program for three years before he could start kindergarten at the age of six.
We have one free option for him when he's five and it's a great program, but it's really inconvenient and it's not kindergarten. And for what? A third year of preschool for a kid who's had no trouble keeping up yet?
There used to be more free preschools in grammar schools throughout Somerville. Then a couple years ago they decided to build a state of the art, free early childhood center. IN EAST SOMERVILLE. And then they closed the neighborhood preschool classes and they don't provide transportation to the new center. On the one hand I totally applaud the effort. Putting precious school resources into a program that's not federally mandated? How cool is that? But doing it at the cost of convenient preschools spread throughout the city seems like a real kick-in-the-teeth to working parents. When I was working at Emerson, there would have been no way I could have gotten a kid to the Capuano and then to work. For people at the mercy of public transportation, that just doesn't work. From where we are, it would probably take about a half hour to get him to that school. The free preschool is inconvenient to more than half of the city.
Why am I the only one who seems to care?
We just want to send our son to kindergarten when he turns five. Private options range from 5k-25k. Then I'm not sure we could send him to public first grade because they have the same 8/31 cut off. However, we could abort a year of private kindergarten and switch him into public kindergarten after the first quarter.
Is it just me, or do these options suck? I don't buy into holding kids back to give them an "edge." If school is that hard that we need to start or kids a year late then we need neighborhood preschool options that don't require driving through the seventh circle of traffic hell to get there.