Finding the right school for our oldest child was an extreme task, we started him in daycare when he turned 1, and by 2 ½ we were looking for something more structured. By the time he was three years old, we had tried a Montessori school, standard daycare, and a early childhood education daycare. I wanted to find the best preschool and future elementary school for him.
By definition a public school is supported by public funds, and normally your local “home school”. In the East Valley, there are many highly rated public schools with plenty of preschool options.
Private schools can fall into the category of Montessori, Charter, Christian, etc. A private school is supported by organizations or individuals rather than by funds from the government. From our experience, usually these schools have a big waiting list to get in!
Although the Montessori route didn’t work out for our oldest son; I know many who enjoy this type of teaching/environment for their young children. This method of teaching is a view an approach that values the child’s spirit to take lead, learn life skills, and the development of the whole child. They usally get to choose their different subjects for the day, and work at their own pace. NOT all Montessori teaching jobs require a college education or major in teaching.
Charter schools are actually public schools, but give parents academic choices for their children with different challenges. When we toured a few Charter schools for Kindergarten around Gilbert, we were told if your child excels in one subject, they can take a higher-level course. They don’t have to be completely ahead of the game in all subjects. So if you have a strong reader, but not so strong in math, this might be a route to go!
Like Charter schools, academies are funded by the Department of Education, but can ask for independent donations. Academies can have a specialized learning focus and does NOT have to follow the national curriculum. From what I’ve learned from touring schools is that at academies, studies are pushed a little harder in every subject; and students should be well rounded, and the ability to learn more advanced materials.
Something I learned about in the past two years was Open Enrollment. Meaning, just because we live in the Gilbert school district, doesn’t mean we have to attend a Gilbert school! I applied as soon as I could to receive our open enrollment for Chandler, and once we we’re approved we could register for our school of choice. One reason we chose Chandler over Gilbert, was for their gifted programs that start at an earlier age, and would fit our child’s needs. Our son ended up in Knox Gifted Academy for Pre-K, then testing into it for elementary school. After years of dabbling in different schools, we found the perfect one!