Monday, February 01, 2010

Brain Food

This school thing is starting to freak me out. We went on another tour this morning, and now I'm even more torn. The school was Green, and it's an "Athletics and Academics" magnet. Which sounds a bit redundant, but in fact the kids get P.E. almost every day of the week while at other schools, only once a week. They also do "units" of dance, gymnastics and swimming. I am a big believer in exercise sparking brain activity, and also my daughter happens to be a total wiggle-worm.

It was kind of funny when the tour lady showed us the field and explained that the kids run laps every day at 9:30, for some sort of prize. I said "You FORCE them to run laps???" and my child was forgotten as I flashbacked to my middle school lap-running days, when I would be crying and snot-covered and the disgusted P.E. teacher would yell "Pick up the pace or I'm going to give you another lap! You're a disgrace!" Well, maybe I'm exaggerating slightly. Anyway, my point is, Jarrah would probably be all over the lap-running, find it totally groovy. Yet another example of how we don't share DNA.

Anyway, some of the things I liked about Green reminded me of Dailard, which I also liked. It's new-ish. Air-conditioned. Feels open and clean. The teachers seemed engaged, and the students lively. I liked how the tour covered all the kindergarten rooms but a few 2nd and 3rd grade rooms, too, so we could see what they were doing. The principal had a no-nonsense "I expect the best from everyone in my orbit" kind of vibe. And then there's the athletics on top of that.

David was impressed because--instead of a computer lab like all the other schools--this one has brand-new iMacs (four of them) in every classroom, K-5. A completely weird bit of trivia is that these were donated by the family of actress Anne Heche, who apparently went there. The kids use computers in the classroom every day. Oh, and Jennifer? There were Smartboards in every room, too!

It was kind of amusing that this was the only tour that didn't begin with a sort of pageant in the multi-purpose room, a time for us to kick back and let people bombard us with information. We began at the ridiculous hour of 7:40 and left the office promptly, and after a standing welcome from the principal, off we went on the hoof. This amused me later because it is, after all, an athletics magnet, so I guess they wanted us to get our morning constitutional. Multi-tasking, dontcha know.

I asked a lot more questions on this tour because by now I have a basis for comparison and am not totally clueless about what kindergarten even means. I liked how one of the kinder teachers explained why there are different reading "stations" in his room, and was actually a bit relieved--as of yet, Jarrah has expressed no interest even in letters having sounds, so no doubt there will be kids way ahead of her in that area. I liked how she could learn to read at her own pace.

And it didn't hurt that the principal said "Thank you for considering our school" and there was absolutely no talk of how hard it is to get in (which it is--just as hard as the others, if not harder.) I do like to be given a little credit for dragging my tired self out of bed in the dark, though I'm ashamed to admit that after we dropped Jarrah at school, I came home and passed out again until noon.

Maybe I need to enroll in the adult version of an athletics and academic magnet.

One more tour to go--our neighborhood school. This one is a drop-in. And then it's decision-making time. Gulp. Any bets on whether I'll feel the need to circle back to all these schools again before filling out the application?


Stephanie said...

This one sounds sorta fantastic on many levels. Good Luck.

Jennifer said...

Wow! I am getting a super good vibe on this one! I like! Here's what I have to say on the reading stations...every single teacher in every single school should be doing that! Teachers should be differentiating their instruction based on student needs. If they are not, then you don't want Jarrah at that school! At least that's what I'd be looking for if I had my very own kindergarten student. ha! AND yea for the Smartboards and the macs!!! I can get on board with that!

Jenn said...

I like the way Green sounds... and PE everyday is awesome. I teach PE every day but it's not required. AND should go see them all again for clarification and more information. You'll feel better if you do.

The Wades said...

You're such a good mom.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a great school.

I feel like such a slacker. I never knew about touring different schools. I barely got William enrolled in the school across the street in time.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you are a-ma-zing!
I would have peed my pants then fainted dead away.
Sounds like you were perfection. Who knows, if there were looking for a different type or whatever this time, you may have a brilliant shot next time around!

Anonymous said...

This school sounds so cool! I can't believe that most schools only give you athletics once a week. I mean, that is crazy. Having a high energy child like I do, I just can't imagine her sitting still and "learning" every day if she didn't get some run around time. Anyway, you have certainly armed yourself with information, so I hope the decision isn't too hard! xx Lix