Kindergarten :: The Toughest Decision I Have Made as a Parent

When your child goes to kindergarten, they are beginning their journey at a school for potentially the next seven years. Our children spend roughly seven hours a day at school, five days a week; that is about 1,062 hours. That is about half of their time out of your house and even more if you think about the hours that they are actually awake each day. So to say that I stressed about choosing the right school for my child and family would be an understatement.

Choosing a School For Kindergarten

This year alone, my husband and I toured three different schools. Two of the schools, we visited the year before. Last year I was overwhelmed and decided to keep my son at his preschool for a third year because we absolutely LOVE everything about it. If I could keep him there forever I would, but they won’t let me do not have an elementary school. The third school was toured on three separate occasions, once with the school counselor, once with the principal,  and the third time I brought my son along for another tour with the principal.

kindergartenThis is the year that we are going to set him free and choose another school that will continue to build on his love for learning, so we wanted to make sure that we got it right. We want him to be challenged daily and to develop skills that will help him to be successful in life. Is that a little too heavy for kindergarten expectations? For us the answer is no.

Cue the Hormones

I am making this decision during my hormone filled third pregnancy; cue all the tears and irrational fears. I cried because I was worried that he would not get into the private school that we wanted because we knew that there were only three spots in the kindergarten class. I cried because maybe we should have chosen a school in pre-k 4, and it would have opened up our options. I cried when he did get into the private school that I wanted because then I HAD TO MAKE THE DECISION. I cried when I thought about my daughter possibly not getting into the same school the following year. So I cried a lot and lost a lot of sleep at night with the decision hanging over my head. It did not help that my husband changed his mind on a DAILY basis. We needed to make a decision because it was literally killing me on the inside.

Public School vs. Private School

I am not from Lafayette and I am a product of a mixed public and private school education. My husband, on the other hand, has attended four different private schools in Lafayette between preschool and high school. It is my belief that we approach school selection a little differently than some people because we do not have a personal connection with just one school. Most people send their children to the schools that they went to; for us it was a little more complex than that. Like everyone else, we just want to do what is best for our children. I do not think you can go wrong with any of the schools here, but I think if you look a little more deeply you may be surprised by what you find. 

We ultimately decided to send our son to a French Immersion “School of Choice” that is located in our neighborhood (i.e. the school I toured three times) with the hopes that he can test into the gifted program. This decision was so hard for us, because we had not been open to public school in the past but that is mostly because we knew nothing about our options. We will probably still do private school after elementary school, but we will wait and see. We are hoping that the program will open up new opportunities for our children and provide them with educational benefits that they would not receive if they were at another school. And if it is an epic fail, then back to the drawing board.

Lauren James
Lauren is a native New Orleanian that was transplanted to Lafayette in 2008 by her husband of 11 years, Daniel. She has a B.S.N. from Louisiana State University – School of Nursing and a M.S.N. from the University of South Alabama. Her “paying gig” is as a Nurse Practitioner with a focus in Quality/Infection Prevention at a local hospital. Her other full-time gig is as keeper of her home and mom to William 7, Mary Kathryn 6, and Benjamine 2. Most of her days at home are spent picking up toys and socks off the floor so the family Bernese Mountain Dog, Tipper, does not demolish them. When she has a spare moment, she enjoys reading crime novels, playing board game with her kids, cooking and baking foods that are not on her diet, and finding any reason to celebrate by drinking her beloved champagne. To burn off a few calories and any leftover energy, the family enjoys walking or riding bikes on the shaded boulevard on which they live. Lauren has fallen in love with the people and city of Lafayette and is very proud to raise her family here and to now call it home.


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