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:
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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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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.

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 had studied and worked with mentally disabled children. She

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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 parents must undertake. Here's why.
Keeping your child's medical and academic records organized and easily referenced is an important task parents 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 school,
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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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Summers are a Great Time...
Most private schools enjoy a long break over the summer. Use this time wisely and effectively to benefit your child.
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
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