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We would LOVE some idea of what our 5 1/2 year old son is heading into for private school interviews. He'll be 'interviewing' for first grade for 3 hours plus by himself, 3 days in a row at 3 schools! He'll be going to The Berkeley School, Bentley and Head Royce. He's a very emotional kid and does well when we prepare him for what to expect. We hope to learn if the schools are good environment for him (intense, emotional, probably 'gifted', sweet, sensitive.)
We are also hoping to be able to peek into some public elementary schools (we're moving to the area) - but is that allowed? BUSD, Rosa Parks? And if the housing market allows, Piedmont elementary schools? Sorry to keep asking questions, but if anyone knows if Rosa Parks ever has open spots in the bilingual program for 1st grade? THANK YOU SO SO MUCH! This network is making our move back to the bay area as parents now so so much easier!
As for Berkeley public schools, yes you can usually observe classrooms. Many schools conduct regular tours for prospective parents this time of year, often led by a parent or even the principal. Phone individual schools or visit the office in person to find out about this. I just had a wonderful 2-hour tour with 4 other parents at Williard Middle School, lead by the principal. We arranged it in advance with the office. I think you'll find that the Berkeley schools really make an effort to reach out to prospective families and the community.
In terms of enrollment and open spots, you really need to check with the district -- in person is usually best, especially this time of year. Check the BUSD website for details. Hope that helps local mom
My child is very shy and has some attachment issues. I'm very afraid of the admissions process b/c I don't think my son will go in a room with strangers. He's very bright and once he warms up he's fine, but what should I do to get him in the room? Can anyone give me any advice on what to do? Katie
At the school tour I pulled the Admissions Director aside and told her of my concerns. She immediately made me comfortable and assured me there are many families in the same situation and that we could repeat the assessment on the next available date if the first one didn't work out for him. We decided the best thing to do was take a tour the day before so my son could meet some of the staff and see the room where the assessment would take place. When we toured the school we happened to meet one of the evaluators. She was warm and friendly and made my son feel very comfortable. She told him she'd be the person who'd come and talk to him the next day.
The St. Paul's assessment is very gentle and fun for the kids. The children and parents assemble in a room and then a group of evaluators come and greet the children and take their hands and lead them into the classroom where they have fun activities planned.
I didn't tell my son about the evaluation until the day before because he has the tendancy to work himself into a frenzied state over fear of unknown situations. The fact that I felt so comfotable with the process myself really helped because my son reads my energy and responds accordingly.
So to my amazement the day came and my son marched right into that room and had a great time. I'm STILL shocked about it.
A little boy we know ended up having a difficult transition. He was scared to go into the room and he cried. He was quiet during the assessment and his mother was very concerned that it would affect his chances for acceptance. This little boy did get accepted despite his behavior because the team of evaluators here could see what an amazing little boy this was despite not being ready yet to walk into a room full of strangers without his parent.
Both this boy and my son now attend this amazing school. Our children are thriving here. My son's ''shyness'' is hardly recognizable. He's already gained so much confidence in just a few short months. I couldn't be happier. Jessica
I do think how a school handles your shy child is a good indicator of whether or not that's a good school for your child. And, keep in mind that it takes all kinds of kids to make up a class, and being shy is not going to be seen as a negative. (Can you imagine a classroom full of outgoing, extroverted kids?!) FYI -- we were accepted at all 4 schools we applied to, but ended up sending our son to the first school with the really understanding admissions director.
I need help with any experienced parent regarding scores on the ISEE required to get in to the private east bay independent high schools. Does anyone know the lowest score they would consider for acceptance into CPS, Bentley HS, Marin Academy, Lick, IHS, or Head Royce? Otherwise good GPA, lots of sports and activities. We are trying to figure if we should even continue with the applications and fees. Inqusitive Parent
My 5-y-o is academically advanced but very shy. Although she's finally comfortable enough in interacting with teachers and students at her preschool, she rarely talks to people, including other parents, our neighbors and even relatives, whom she doesn't know well. We're applying for independent schools (kindergartens) for the 2003 school year and each of them requires a group and/or individual assessment as a part of the application process. We're worried because she may not be able to separate herself from us when we (parents) have to leave the assessment room, for example. We also feel that she would not talk to teachers in one-on-one interviews. With many assessment dates coming soon, we'd like to know how we can help her and make this process easier for her (and for us too). Thank you.
We're about to go through the same situation as we are applying to private schools for next year from our local public school. My son is in 2nd grade. Hopefully I can offer you some advice based on our experience having done this already. Tell the interviewer about your child's shyness and suggest that you be present.
If your daughter is invited to attend class for a day or morning suggest that you be allowed to sit in back till she warms up and is ready to let you leave. When I did this at one time when my son was 6, he clung to me the whole time and never did warm up enough to let me leave. He's not as clingy in new situations now and though he still may not talk he will respond with nods and will allow me to leave after a while. Suggest to the interviewer/teacher that it may be helpful to have a few visits with your daughter so that the situation will be more familiar to her.
Above all let them know that pressuring her will increase the shyness anxiety...they should have no expectations that she speak to them.
Try to speak to the teachers alone before hand so they know what to expect and know that she is talkative in other situations. My son has a social phobia called Selective Mutism...he talks to some people and not others...kids usually, some adults, NEVER new adults. I'd be happy to talk to you more about this if you want to contact me. Good luck. June
Can anyone tell me just what the Kindergarten assessment at Bentley or Head-Royce consists of? I've heard horror stories of 4 year olds ''flunking'' because they were unable to draw the ''inverse'' of an overlapping circle and isoceles triangle. Is this really the type of question that is asked at the assessment? I've also heard stories of children being somewhat traumatized by the pressure at the assessment. I have a very physically active son with minimal small motor skill development (not yet writing or drawing well) and want to minimize the potential for trauma on his part. Concerned Mom
But I guess as always, the experience depends on the child. My child was attending preschool at the time and was very comfortable with the 'school' environment. As parents, we explained to her that it was her opportunity to experience the school and teachers and did not let on to her that she was being 'tested' to avoid any pressures on her.
As far as I can gather from 'grilling' (you bet I wanted to know what they did with her) after each session was that most of the schools tested for the following in varying degrees:
gross motor skills - jumping, running, etc. small motor skills - drawing, writing, handling scissors, making something with paper and glue ability to follow instructions - draw a picture of yourself, draw a picture of your family, etc. ability to listen to and follow instructions - run to the other end of the room and jump 5 times ability to answer questions (verbal multiple choice)- Where does a whale live? a. forest, b. ocean, c. house counting - count to 5 ability to recognize the letters of the alphabet ability to work in a small group ability to recognize shapes and to make associationsHow they rate the importance of these activities I don't know, but these are some of things I think came up last year.
Just one last note. The first couple were lots of fun for my daughter... but she was really getting bored with the process by the time she got to the fourth one. They are tiringly for the children and scheduling too many might be a disadvantage if your child starts losing interest, etc.
Best of luck in your selection process. All-in-all, I think the process worked well in allowing us to find the right match for our child. It seemed to be the case with all of the parents at our preschool. We all ended up at different schools, but it seems to working well for all of us.
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