Thursday, October 16, 2008
And Now it Begins
The quest for the right school. Preschool, that is. I have been dreading this day ever since I learned from my neighbor what a crazy city this is for getting your child into school. And it's not just once. It's finding the right preschool, and then making sure your name is on the list a year ahead just to be considered for a lottery; it's then making sure you can get into a good Kindergarten/Elementary school, which in turn doesn't guarantee you an automatic feed into a junior high and high school. Oh, no. You have to apply for each of those, as well.
Then, there are the choices. Because where we live, there is no way I'm sending my child to the school down the block. It's not a matter of elitism. It's a matter of her safety (and frankly, a desire for a nurturing and academically challenging atmosphere.) But we're not at academics quite yet. We're still at preschool. And there are alot of them, both private and public, in Hyde Park and downtown Chicago. I think at this point, we're leaning away from homeschooling because we'd have to hire someone else to do that for us!
So today we dove in and visited our dream school for Nourit - the Lycee Francais. We were quite surprised at what a warm and welcoming place it was. I guess we imagined an austere staff, and children who didn't smile. We felt quite the opposite, and are ready to apply before the December deadline. (Yes, that is for admission for Fall 2009. Welcome to Chicago, folks.) The idea of having Nourit immersed in French while she's at the best age for learning another language is our main reason for looking at this school. If she remained there throughout her entire school career, she would graduate with an excellent education under her belt, a year beyond most other schools academically. And growing up bilingual would help her learn other languages more easily, and give her a leg up for in our ever-shrinking global community. The pricetag, however, is (gulp) $13,100/year. For preschool. So obviously, we cannot send our child here unless we get an amazing (and it would have to be almost 100% amazing) discount. We'll still apply, though, because those little kids speaking French were so darn happy.