The Search for Pre-School: Two-Way Bilingual or Not? January 13 2012

I knew this moment would come sooner rather than later. My daughter is not yet three and I'm already drowning in information about which schools to apply to for next year. Public school is the only real option for us, so it's a regular public school or a public charter school. So why apply at 3? Well, many of the good programs start out at three, so if I don't do it now then the chances of getting into my school or schools of choice go down. There are more options that open up at pre-K 4-years, but starting now gives us two opportunities. 

In the past week we've been to six school open houses or events to check out what's in store for our little one. I've got a handful more to go before the month is over. We love the bilingual programs, but of course, they are not all created equally. Some are two-way bilingual, immersion, and others are just a class or two per week in Spanish. And I'm not so sure how taking a once-a-week class in Spanish would really help. We did see one really awesome, amazing school that, of course, has stiff competition to get into, but at least it's a lottery system. At least we've got a better chance of winning this lottery than the kind of lottery I'd really love to win. If we won THAT lottery, I'd enroll the toddler K at the Obama girls' school. And she's become fluent in Spanish on our jet-setting vacations to Latin America.

So many things to think about as a parent, and it's really a subjective decision in the end, no matter how much you talk to your neighbors or friends about it. The other thing is, I'd really like for my daughter to go to a school that has a strong arts integration. And by that I mean that she can learn to play the violin, cello or whatever (a recorder doesn't count) through classes during the school day by third grade. Programs like that exist. But if we go the arts way, what happens to her Spanish? And what about science and math? I mean, those were always my best subjects in school, even going into college when I suddenly did an about-face and said nah, I wanna do something else. 

So many decisions. Guess I gotta do like my mom and just light my San Judas candle and let it all work itself out.