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:

How To Have Successful Parent-Teacher Conference

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How To Have  Successful Parent-Teacher Conference
The parent-teacher conference is a wonderful opportunity to discuss your child's progress. Make the most of it by preparing yourself both emotionally and intellectually for this special, brief time with your child's teacher.

As a parent and a teacher, I have been on both sides of the parent-teacher conference. Sometimes I have wondered whether we were discussing the same child. Most of the time, parents have listened intently as I pointed out their child's strengths and weaknesses. Occasionally I have had to deal with defensive parents and parents with unreasonable expectations. 

Read the excellent article entitled Tips for Parents on Parent-Teacher Conferences on the National Education Association site. Against this backdrop, here are a few suggestions to help you have a successful parent-teacher conference. 

This video offers an example of a parent-teacher conference.

Show up.

You have to show up to have a successful meeting with your child's teacher. That sounds so obvious, doesn't it? I can clearly remember times when the parents with whom I wanted to meet were no shows. Perhaps there was a good reason why they missed their parent-teacher conference. However, in most of those cases, I don't recall receiving a phone call or a note explaining what happened. As soon as you receive your parent-teacher conference appointment, save it in your smartphone's calendar and Google calendar. If you cannot attend for some valid reason, text, or email your child's teacher as soon as possible. Ask to re-schedule the conference.

Arriving for the conference.

Arrive at the school at least 10 minutes early for your conference. If the conference before yours was canceled at the last minute or ends early, you will be on hand and ready

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Summer Programs

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Summer Programs
A long summer break offers plenty of time for a wide range of activities for every age group. Here are some of the options available.

A long summer break has been a fixture of the schedule in most private schools seemingly forever. Three months or more offers plenty of time for a wide range of activities for every age group. Here are some of the options available.

Sports camps

Many private schools rent out their facilities to outside organizations which run sports camps. The last time I checked, there seemed to me to be a camp available for almost any sport you could imagine. And they were offered at various age levels too.

Tech summer sessions

Ages ago we called these computer camps. Nowadays they are called tech camps. They will teach your daughter robotics, code, game development, design and much more. IDTech and Emagination Tech camps are just two of the commercial companies offering tech courses on college campuses here in the United States and abroad. 

This video offers a peak at an IDTech summer tech camp.

Your local community college probably has tech camps too. Wake Tech in my area has fifteen tech camp options including such popular offerings as drones, video game design and more. Our sister site, Community College Review has a powerful search tool which will help you find a community college near you.

Day and overnight camps for children with special needs

Your child attends a school for children with special needs. What will you do with him for three months while his school is closed? Not too worry. There are summer camps

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5 Facts about Montessori, Waldorf & Reggio Emilia Schools

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5 Facts about Montessori, Waldorf & Reggio Emilia Schools
We take a detailed look at the three popular early childhood methods to help you determine which one best suits your needs and requirements.

This article is also available as a podcast.

Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia -inspired schools are three highly-regarded early education methods. Here are five facts about each method together with links and videos to additional materials which I have selected to enhance your research. Choosing the right school for your child is a process. Follow all the steps in that process and you will be rewarded with a good result. Cutting corners or waiting until the last minute will stress you out and not produce the intended results.

Five Facts about Montessori

Montessori is the name of a very popular approach for teaching preschool and primary age children. We'll explore the reasons for its popularity later. First, let's examine how Montessori got its start. As with many great movements, Montessori began with an idea and some theories put forth by one of those remarkable visionaries who dot the pages of history.

Photo of Dr. Maria Montessori: Wikipedia.orgDr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952) was born and raised in Italy. She came from a family of modest means. Her father did not approve of his daughter's desire to be educated much less to become a doctor. Women didn't do such things back at the end of the 19th century. Despite the many obstacles which stood in her way Maria earned her degree from the University of Rome in 1896. Her specialty was pediatric medicine. 

While Dr. Montessori was working towards her degree, she

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Keeping Your Child's Records

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Keeping Your Child's Records
Keeping your child's medical and academic records organized and easily referenced is an important task every parent must undertake. Here's why.
Keeping your child's medical and academic records organized and easily referenced is an important task every parent must undertake. Here's why.
 
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. Many of these documents are originals which is all the more reason to keep them in a safe place and to keep them organized. You probably do not have to refer to them very often but you know where to find them when you need them.
 
The same thing applies to your child's records. There will be many times when you will have to furnish proof that your child has been immunized against certain diseases. Aptitude and other academic testing results are also important papers to keep on files. 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
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Admissions to Primary and Pre-School: A-Z

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Admissions to Primary and Pre-School: A-Z
For many reasons it can be more difficult to get your child into a preschool or kindergarten than into a prep school. Here's an overview of the process.
For many reasons it can be more difficult to get your child into a preschool or kindergarten than into a prep school. Especially if you live in a major city like New York or Chicago. Read The Truth About Preschool Admissions by Jacoba Urist in The Huffington Post to get an idea of what you are up against. Getting your child into preschool is not quite the same as walking into Bergdorf's and purchasing an expensive item of apparel. Your money and your accomplishments take a back seat to your child and her abilities and accomplishments. Preschools look at your child first. Then they will give you the once over.
 
If you live in an area where places in the local preschools are not as difficult to come by, count your lucky stars. In any case here's an overview of the process.
 
Getting Started
 
Much depends on the area in which you live. Major metropolitan areas seem to have the fewest preschool places. How do you make sure your child will get into a school? You start the process as soon as you can and you go through the admissions process at at least three schools, five if you can manage it. In those highly competitive markets getting into a preschool, any preschool is almost as dicey as drawing lots. So cover your bases by applying to more than one school, preferably three. Applying to five schools couldn't hurt. Listen to Joanna Port's preschool admission tips.

If you
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