School Daze

E is three now, which means it's time to start obsessing about finding the right school for her--even though technically, she won't be old enough to enter a kindergarten program until the 09-10 school year. I suppose she could enter a pre-K program this fall, but the thought of trying to figure out before-care, after-care and summer care really scares the hell out of me. Is it educational suicide to leave her in daycare for an extra year rather than looking for a pre-K program? Does that virtually guarantee that she won't be able to get into a kindergarten program if she isn't already enrolled in the pre-K program?

Any parents out there in the blogosphere with young children who can give me some advice? Seeing as I didn't grow up in New Orleans, I'm not real familiar with the whole private school versus parochial school comparisons here, much less the post-K charter school maze. I certainly know which schools I can't afford, and that would be, it seems, most of them. Perhaps it's crass to say so in my blog, but I can't afford to spend $15-$20K on elementary school. At least not on my salary.

Any thoughts on good schools to look at? The only possibilities that even sound within our ballpark right now are Ursuline and Holy Name of Jesus. Even though I'm not Catholic, I'd consider them. Does anyone know if it's possible to get into either of these schools without a three-year wait list? Anyone out there have kids at either school or know anyone that does?

Of course I've heard raves about Audubon and Ecole Bilingue, but my understanding is that Ecole Bilingue is only positively accepting children of French nationals right now, while everyone else goes onto a lottery/wait list. And it's an automatic lottery for Audubon, isn't it?

Are you supposed to get nauseous thinking about how to ensure a good education for your three-year-old? If so, I guess I'm a real New Orleanian now.


Kelly said...

Oy, we're going through this right now. We are wait-listed for the Audubon French program -- if you are interested, I would recommend talking to someone over there, you could have a shot but applications were due in January.

Audubon Montessori is a long shot.

Ecole Bilingue is private and I've heard good things -- give them a call.

Until I hear that we have a space at Audubon, we are going with New Orleans Montessori in Lakeview (or possibly Ecole Bilingue but I didn't put a deposit down so they might not have me!).

It's all very overwhelming ... I don't know a whole lot but if you need more info, feel free to email.

oyster said...

"Are you supposed to get nauseous thinking about how to ensure a good education for your three-year-old?"

Unfortunately, yes.

I can recommend Ecole Bilingue, and Audubon looked pretty good, too, if you buy into the French or Montessori thing.

a said...

Thanks for the tips. I didn't even know there was a Montessori school in Lakeview, so perhaps I'll check that out. One of my co-workers is sending her son to Ecole Bilingue in the fall, but she's a French-speaking Swiss national and thus was pretty much guaranteed a spot. Guess I should talk to them as well.

Leigh C. said...

I managed to get my son into Audubon Montessori when there was a window of opportunity that opened up two years ago. I almost ran away screaming when I saw the loads of parents that were coming to the required meetings, but I figured, what the hell. I figured if it didn't pan out, I could send my son back to the JCC preschool, which is very good.

In other words, look at all the options you can. Get the real stories on admissions and all that fun stuff and make sure you have something to fall back on if the applications don't pan out. Research is the key around here. Period.

brendan said...

audubon montessori is great. i have my 6yo girl there in a K/1 class (she'll be in a 1/2/3 class next year) and my 4yo is wait-listed for a pre-K-4.

pre-k-4 is really hard to get into because people either start their kids off in the whole pre-k thing at 3 filling it up through the 4 and then the don't drop out. or else they don't enroll until k, which is why ali got in last year. it also helped that i had her in a montessori daycare.

so if you're interested in audubon montessori and get wait-listed, make sure you get the kid into a montessori daycare. it gives you a point up on the other applicants.