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The journey to kindergarten begins

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 Leave a Comment

I've got a boy going to kindergarten next year. He's at the front curve of the huge bubble of kids getting ready to enter Stapleton schools. A year ago, we were wondering whether we'd get a spot at a neighborhood school. How things have changed! 

We're lucky to live in a neighborhood (and city) with so much choice when it comes to schools. In Stapleton, we have three very good public elementary school options, plus several charters within a few miles. People who don't live here are amazed when they hear we don't have any boundaries, and can choose any of the three schools here.

If you've got a child ready to go to kindergarten or ECE (preschool) next year, January is when you'll need to get your applications in order-- January 31, to be specific -- so I've asked our friends at ScoopToo to help with the process. ScoopToo is a site dedicated to helping Denver parents through the maze of public, charter and private school options -- including school reviews.

One of the first steps Jenn and Kerri at ScoopToo suggest is to analyze what's most important to you: location, public or private, curriculum, class size?

I know location is important to me: I don't want to be driving my kid all over town. I also know private school isn't an option for us. So that narrows my search down right off the bat: I'm looking at public and charter schools within a few miles. I also know that my kid is happy when he's outside, with his buddies. He doesn't love to write or color (what 4-year old boy does?) but he'll try most activities offered at his play-based preschool.  In other words, he's the average 4-year old boy, no special needs. He'll fit in just about anywhere.

Next, it's time to tour the schools. Check out ScoopToo's post "Getting Started" for some questions to ask when you tour schools.

I toured Bill Roberts last year - and liked it - so I went to check out Stapleton 3 next. Our local schools don't compete against one another, but each try to offer something different. Stapleton 3's differentiator? They'll be teaching the International Baccalaureate program -- a curriculum that focuses on a global community. Each subject (reading, writing, math) will integrate global themes into their lesson plans and use lots of hands-on inquiry methods. They'll teach foreign language - most likely Spanish.  One mom described the IB program as a liberal program that encourages kids to make independent decisions, though she was referring to high school, so who knows how that translates to elementary students. Whittier Elementary School in Boulder teaches the IB program, along with Brown Elementary and a handful of other Denver schools.

They'll hold every student to a high standard. They'll teach Singapore math - and I'd love to tell you what that is, but after several people explained it, I still have no clue. All I know is that I left feeling very reassured that no matter which Stapleton school we choose, my kid will be just fine.

Other links you might find interesting:


  • Anonymous said:  

    Has the IB curriculum been decided upon for sure at Stapleton 3?