Reader Question: What If My Child Has A Complete Meltdown During Visiting Day At L.A. Private Elementary Schools?

Here’s a question that was posted in the “comments” section from one of our readers:

Question: Hello: It’s been great reading your blog in preparation for three parent interviews and three school “playdates” in the coming week. As I try not to obsess, I do have a real concern: although my daughter is joyfully happy at her preschool and no longer has ANY problems separating from us, she is STILL a very cautious (or sometimes called SHY) in new situations and the mere mention of visiting a school has her yelling “no!” 

I am sure these schools are used to some kids acclimating quicker than others, but what if your child simply refuses to separate? Or has a complete meltdown in the process? My preschool will attest to what a great kid she is to have at their school, and how it’s not an issue any more, but what if they don’t see that at the visit? Do schools really judge your child on this ONE day?

Sincerely, Anonymous and Nerve-wracked and hoping to get through the week without a stroke, (and thankful for any words of wisdom).

Answer: Hi Anon, thanks for reading the blog! In my experience taking my daughter on visiting days or “playdates,” I found that all of the schools were very skilled in helping kidsseparate from their parents. My co-author, Porcha Dodson, did admissions testing at CurtisSchool and often tells parents that the people working with the kids on these “playdates” areteachers and administrators who are very used to dealing patiently and kindly with youngkids in a new environment. If your daughter is hesitant, they will most likely gently encourage her and make it fun for her. If she truly refuses to separate from you, the schoolmay offer you another chance to come back on a different day. Overall, I think the schools do a wonderful job making the kids feel as comfortable as possible. Hopefully, your daughter will be excited about the opportunity to see a K class and potential new classmates and fun things to do! I told my daughter (who was very shy) that she’d be going to see real K classes and teachers and do a bunch of K projects. She loved it and had no trouble on these “playdates.”

Anne Simon, Beyond The Brochure co-author, advises that you talk to your daughter and reassure her that she will be fine during the “playdate.” And, you may need to stay close if the school tries to separate you from your daughter for the observation i.e. right outside the door, etc. Anne adds, “I would tell her to use her judgement about talking with the Admissions Director about separation. If she thinks she can avoid a total meltdown by staying close, she may want to say something to the Admissions Director.” Hope that helps! 


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Have We Applied To Enough L.A. Private Elementary Schools?



If you’re wondering (like I was) whether you’ve applied to enough schools, there are schools with January 2012 application deadlines. In Beyond The Brochure, we discuss this issue in detail. Obviously, there’s no perfect number, but if the schools you’ve selected are super-competitive, or you’re applying for financial aid, consider adding one or two more to your list. Here are a few schools with January 2012 admissions deadlines:

Campbell Hall: The deadline for all applications is Friday, January 27th, 2012.

St. James Episcopal School. Submit your application to the Admissions Office with the $100 non-refundable application fee as soon as possible, but no later than January 13, 2012. Late applications received will be considered after April if space is available. 

New Roads: January 20, 2012. Deadline for completed applications

Pilgrim School: Jan. 31s, 2012. 

PS #1. Still accepting applications for Fall 2012. 

Children’s Community School. Deadline is Jan. 27, 2012.  

Laurence School. Deadline is Jan. 15, 2012. 

Don’t Miss School Events, Photos, Guest Posts and More! Like Us On Facebook!

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Did We Apply To Enough Schools?

If you’re wondering whether you’ve applied to enough schools, there are schools with January 2012 application deadlines. In Beyond The Brochure, we discuss this issue in detail. Obviously, there’s no perfect number, but if the schools you’ve selected are super-competitive, consider adding one or two more to your list.  Here are a few schools with January 2012 admissions deadlines:


Campbell Hall: The deadline for all applications is Friday, January 27th, 2012.


St. James Episcopal School. Submit your application to the Admissions Office with the $100 non-refundable application fee as soon as possible, but no later than January 13, 2012. Late applications received will be considered after April if space is available. 


New Roads: January 20, 2012. Deadline for completed applications


Pilgrim School- Jan. 31s, 2012. 


PS #1. Still accepting applications for Fall 2012. 


Children’s Community School. Deadline is Jan. 27, 2012.  


Laurence School. Deadline is Jan. 15, 2012. 


See previous posts about: School tours and A-List School Tours, My school tour process, What If We Don’t Love The Schools We Toured? and Apply to the schools you like

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Reader Question: Visiting/Testing Day For Twins-Separate or Together?

Reader question: Are twins are tested/evaluated separately or together as part of the admissions process?


Anne Simon, Beyond The Brochure co-author and former head of Wildwood Elementary School answers the question:


If the school has a one-on-one or paper and pencil assessment, of course the twins will be evaluated separately. If they are observed in a playgroup situation, an interesting question arises. There will probably be more than one group time for these playgroups. If the twins are headed into separate classrooms, it makes sense to have them in separate observation groups. If there is only on grade per class and they will be together if admitted, then I expect the school will want to see them together. It is generally the school’s call, but parents certainly should have a voice in the matter.


What is important is for each child to have a chance to show who he/she is in the best light, but also one that is realistic and replicates the setting the child will find if entering the school.


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Reader Question: Feeder Preschools?

Here’s a recent question from one of our blog readers:

 

Question: Do you believe it really matters where a child goes to preschool when it comes to applying to private elementary school? I am making myself crazy about choosing and getting into the right preschool and would like to let go a little if it doesn’t have a big effect. Thank you for taking a moment to give me your perspective.

 

Answer: I think your question is a good one–and one that isn’t asked enough by parents. It’s my opinion that it does matter where your child goes to preschool if you think (or know) you want him/her to go to a private elementary school. Obviously, the most important factor is your child’s happiness and well-being at preschool. But, if you want your child to go to private elementary school, some preschools have more experience helping families go through the admissions process than others. “Feeder” preschools, as they are called, send their graduates to specific private elementary schools each year. They have experience helping families go through the admissions process and they have a track record of helping kids from their preschool get in. On the other hand, if you send your child to a preschool where the majority of kids go to public elementary school, the preschool director may have very little knowledge about private admissions and may also have very few contacts with admissions directors. Furthermore, he/she may have little interest in helping guide you through the process.

 

That said, private elementary schools accept children from many different preschools, some “feeders”, some not. I knew early on that I wanted my kids to go to private school. I picked a preschool for my daughter that I knew sent at least 50 percent of its graduates to private school. And, then when it came time to apply to schools, our director was a huge help, every step of the process. However, when your child is at a “feeder” preschool, you will be applying to schools along with other families from your preschool. It can get stressful!

 

I think the best thing to do is to apply to several preschools you like, some of which are the ones that you know send kids to private elementary schools. And, apply to some that are perhaps less competitive to get into and are less known as “feeder” schools. Then, you’ll hopefully have options to choose from. Some of this depends on how much help you think you’ll need from your preschool director to go through the admission process for elementary school. If you think you will need a lot of support, think about that when you select a preschool. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes between “feeder” preschools and admissions directors that can help you get into schools. For example, if your child is wait-listed, do you have a preschool director who can call admissions directors to help get your child off the wait-list. Some preschools can do this, others can’t.

 

Good luck with everything!

Christina

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