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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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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Resources for Parents of Gifted Children
As one writer puts it, "Parenting a gifted child is like living in a theme park full of thrill rides..." Fasten your seat belt and let's go for a ride.
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
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