19 May 2010
Private vs. Public
I guess I should start with the honest fact that I am a bit weird about my kids education. No seriously. When I found out I was pregnant with Mister I began looking into different schools. After all some of the best pre-schools had waiting lists 3 years long already.
Mister never did go to preschool. Costs and being a shoeless mom meant that I had to work and driving to and from a preschool wasn't a possibility with work. But he sure did go to some great daycare that challenged my smart cookie. (Did I ever mention he could spell at 3 years old?)
I looked into the regular public schools in the area as well as schools of choice, and private. If you aren't familiar with schools of choice they are public schools with a focus on a specialty. This could be anything from a traditional school, to french immersion, or even fine arts schools.
After coming to the realization that at the time paying for a private school was just not going to happen, I eventually enrolled Mister in a fine arts school of choice. Mister has a real creative side and is especially talented at writing short stories and I felt this school would help him flourish. I could see that my child needed to be somewhere that he would be able to learn to express himself, and what better way than through the arts.
Demand for that school was high and in order to enroll him I needed to camp out in line in front of the school from Friday to Monday morning in January. Please keep in mind I live in Canada. It rained, it snowed, it hailed, it was just plain cold. The good side to this was I had an opportunity to get to know the parents of the kids that my child would be sharing a class with.
I will say I loved the kindergarten teacher. She was fantastic! I was however less than impressed when the kindergarten kids were left out of the concerts at the school. Hello? It's a fine arts program why would all the students not be a part of the concert?
The thing is I had so much personal buy in into this school... after all I had been willing to sleep in my Toyota Echo for an entire weekend to get him into this school. There was a waiting list to get in, and my son had that coveted seat in the school and not only that any future kids I had would automatically be enrolled.
By Grade 2 I was beginning to have major issues with the school. Mister was way ahead of the other students and began to get in trouble because when he finished all his work he would talk to the other kids. Unfortunately he was done way before anyone else and the teacher didn't know what to do with him. Mister's work ethic began to slide. He was bored and it really affected him.
Grade 3 was better. Misters teacher went that extra mile and even taught the 8 yr old children basic algebra. Now she knew how to challenge them. I really started to see other problems though. For a school with a no bullying policy, there was a lot of bullying that was being permitted. I have other friends whose kids go there and I know it is still an ongoing issue.
I still found that the performances at the school were not necessarily as inclusive as I thought they should be. A lot of things were really geared towards kids in the higher grades.
It was the end of grade 3 when the government started making changes towards the Corren Agreement. There are some things that I have to say really need to be taught at home. Especially for young children. I don't think issues such as a persons sexual preferences need to be taught to a 5 year old, regardless of what they are.
So once again I looked into the private schools. Finances still being an issue, I didn't know if I would be able to put my kids in a private school. Still I looked.
I went to the 3 private schools in town. The first while a fantastic program, didn't have financial assistance and really was out of reach for us. Another only had one seat left for grade 4. Then there was Cornerstone.
Small class sizes, (I think the grade 4 class was 12 students) an education based on the morals that I am raising my children with, an honours program, and they still have an athletic department and pretty good fine arts program that really is inclusive.
Mister who had picked up so many bad habits and attitude from second grade had a teacher who was able to give him the attention he needed to really turn things around.
A school with something like 90 students from Jr. K through grade 8, meant all the kids knew each other and regardless of age and class they all played together on the school grounds. I watched as a community of students rallied together in support of one another.
I was a noon time supervisor that first year and was amazed at the dynamics of the school. One of the big bonuses to small classes... I can add the teachers to my facebook friend list and keep up on everything through e-mails!
The real truth about it though was that there was a change in Mister. In the public school system he was getting hard. He was getting an edge to him that worried me. After he started Cornerstone even my mom noticed that he was softening. There was a real change there and for that I was grateful.
Being in a Christian school my son also began learning more about God. He became a prayer warrior. Mister absolutely prays without ceasing, and one of the biggest fights between my kids now is who gets to pray before dinner. Now that's what I call a good problem.
I remember the first Christmas concert at Cornerstone, I was absolutely amazed! It truly was inclusive. All the children had a part to play, even the little Jr. Kindergarten kids were on stage singing. The level of performance far surpassed anything that I had seen at the Fine Arts school my son had previously gone to.
So why do my kids go to Cornerstone Christian School? Well at first it was so I would know what it was that my children were learning. So they could go somewhere with the same morals and values that I was trying to instill at home.
We stayed because in the end my son is in an educational facility where he is thriving, somewhere that challenges him.
Oh and the uniforms make it easy to pick out what to wear in the morning :)
If you live in the Abbotsford area and want more information Call Miss Pacleb 604-859-7867. By the way they do have a 1 year full scholarship available for kids who have never attended a Christian school before.