Elementary Issues

We’ll explore teaching methods, admissions processes and resources relevant to private elementary schools. Learn the difference between Montessori and Waldorf approaches. Get great tips on choosing an elementary school. And find tips and resources to aid you in the admissions process.
View the most popular articles in Elementary Issues:
You and I have to keep certain records safe yet available for easy reference. Important papers such as tax returns, wills, deeds, titles, diplomas and certificates prove ownership and achievement. You probably do not have to refer to them frequently. But you know where to find them when you need them.
The same thing applies to your child's records. Here's how to organize your child's important papers so that you won't be missing the documentation you will need to support her application to nursery school, primary school, high school and college.
Medical and Health Records
Keep records of all immunizations, test results and prescriptions. Why? Because you will be required to provide proof of immunizations as part of your child's medical record when you apply to private school at any level. Schools need to know about allergies your child has so that they know what action to take if and when she has an allergic reaction to something. Ditto with any medications which your child takes. If medications must be administered at school, the school will have protocols in place to take care of that.
What's the best way to keep records?  You can keep them online. This method allows you access to important medical information from anywhere. Scan documents and upload them. You can maintain paper files. 
Tip: keep valuable original documents in a fireproof safe at home or in your safety deposit box at your bank.
Record-keeping is time-consuming. So be sure to allocate a regular time each month to review and file important . . .read more
Getting Started
Much depends on the are in which you live. If you have the option of choosing between several schools, you need to visit the schools. Don't rely exclusively on hear-say and other people's opinions. Very often those opinions were formed years ago and may even be based on gossip. Go and visit the schools. See for yourself.

Depending on the market where you live, places may be at a premium. Begin your school selection process as early as you can.

Each private school is unique. So expect differences in the admissions procedures. While every school will require at least one interview, a formal application and testing, precisely how each individual school goes about each part of the admissions process is something the school decides. In other words there is nothing uniform. Expect differences. Some subtle. Some rather obvious.

The school will want to meet you and your child. What are they looking for? Pretty much the same things that you are looking for. They want to make sure that you and your child will fit in. Wait a minute! What do you have to do with this? You are not going to the school. Your child is. That's the point: the school wants to make sure that you are going to be a willing and able partner with the school in your child's education. It needs to know that you are in agreement with the school's methodology and philosophy. It needs to know . . .read more
As you begin to prepare your middle schooler for the prep school admissions process, be sure to take advantage of the long summer vacation. It offers the time you need to do several things including remediating learning gaps, taking enrichment course and travel, and, of course, reading.

For remediating learning gaps
Your child may have straight A's in English but struggle to achieve a B in Math. While one or two B's won't be a deal breaker at some schools, it won't help if your child is applying to very competitive schools. What to do? As soon as you discover that she has a problem with a core subject like mathematics or reading, do something about it. Tailor the solution to the situation. If a little extra help at her present school is all that is necessary, then go that route. If more drastic measures are required, then hire a tutor. We did that one summer, and it made all the difference in our daughter's comfort level with mathematics.

Children learn in different ways. So, be sure to observe how your child is being taught. That will guide you on what solution to seek. It's very important not to make your child feel like she is being punished or that she is a failure. Instead, you need to explain that core subjects are taught over many years. She needs to understand each level thoroughly before she advances to the next. Core subjects are the foundation on which . . .read more
This is a companion article to Schools for Gifted Children. There are a host of resources available to you on the Internet to help inform you about gifted children and how to educate them. As you sift through all this information, remember that your child is unique.

Because you are his parent, you must follow your own instincts about how to nurture and educate him. It is entirely possible that no one program or school setting will satisfy his needs and requirements. If you approach educating your gifted child as your responsibility and not somebody else's responsibility, then you will take ownership of your child's education. At that point schools and enrichment programs are adjuncts to what you are providing.

Parenting a gifted child is an enormous responsibility. As the authors of Helping Gifted Children Soar state so succinctly:  "Parenting a gifted child is like living in a theme park full of thrill rides..."

National Association For Gifted Children
This umbrella organization offers a vast array of resources and information. If you are looking for enrichment programs for vacations and breaks in the school year, check out their Resources Directory.

IQ Tests and Evaluations



Sites About Gifted Children


As you explore your elementary school options, take time to find out about Waldorf education. Waldorf schools, or Steiner schools as they are often called, had their genesis in the writings and philosophy of Austrian philosopher and social reformer Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). To put Steiner into some sort of context, think of him as northern Europe's equivalent of Dr. Maria Montessori.
These two remarkable people shared something in common which would ultimately lead to the establishment of educational movements based on their philosophies and approaches: namely that children from the less-privileged stratae of society were capable of achieving the same levels of academic accomplishment as children from more privileged homes. The key to success was their approach to teaching children as well as their insistence that the traditional ways of educating children not be used. In addition both Montessori and Steiner insisted on complete control of their schools. No state or local government interference would be tolerated.

Maria Montessori established her school in the poorest neighborhood of Rome because she was convinced that every child, no matter what his social circumstances, was capable of learning. Dr. Montessori carefully observed the children in her school and recorded the results of her experiment. 

Rudolf Steiner like Dr. Montessori earned a doctoral degree. Steiner earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Rostock in 1891. [Source: Wikipedia.org] He established his first school for the children of factory workers in 1919.
Today Waldorf schools offer an alternative to traditional K-12 schools. Whereas in many . . .read more
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