After the Dream School, I toured four other places. At the first, the director rushed me through the place in 15 minutes, and the teacher was so mousey, I couldn't even imagine her raising her voice.
The second place was recommended by several moms in the Mom's Club whose children attend or have attended. I like the place, but I had 2 issues. One, I was able to just walk into the place, and go through the whole building without anyone asking who I was. Not very safe. Two, the director was also the lead teacher of the room Dylan would be in. I don't see how she can do both effectively. She was nice, though, and the kids seemed to be learning a lot. I figured I would most likely choose that place.
The third place was a Montessori school. There were aspects of it I liked - the hands on learning and the combined age groups. But, there were aspects of it that I just really didn't get. For one thing, the kids don't eat snack all together at the same time. There is a small table that seats 3 kids, and they are "free to go over when they are hungry and help themselves to a snack". Uh, I don't know about your kid, but mine thinks he's hungry any time he sees someone else eating. If I grab a granola bar, he wants some, even if he just ate 5 minutes ago. He's a social eater, and with that philosophy, I'm afraid he'd be eating all day.
Another weird thing - if 2 adults are talking, the kids are taught to come over and touch the adults shoulder as a cue, rather than interrupt. I get that. But, the adult then asks, "What's your MESSAGE?" The director said it makes them feel like what they have to say isn't important if we say "What?", or "What do you want?" What's wrong with "Yes?", or "What did you want to say?" "What's your MESSAGE?" just sounds weird to me. Isn't a message something someone tells you to tell another person?
I also worried that this Montessori school (I don't know about others), stressed individual work too much. I want Dylan to socialize with his peers, not sit off by himself all day.
I couldn't get a tour with the fourth place until the day before registration at the second place. The director was warm and caring and I liked her immediately. My thinking is that if the director is warm and caring, she'll probably want to hire people who are the same.
I explained the dilemma I'm having with Dylan. (His birthday being in November, and him being advanced academically. My concern that he would be bored in the 3 year old class. The fact that his current teachers say that he doesn't really play with the other kids, but prefers the teachers attention.) She really listened and asked the appropriate questions to help figure out the best solution.
As we walked through all the rooms, I was impressed at how engaged the children were. The activites were hands on, and fun, and I didn't see a single behavior problem! After talking for a while, the director said, "I feel really bad, because I think your son would do best in the 4 year old room, but that room is already full".
I figured that made my decision easy. I would have to choose the second school. Then, later that afternoon she called me and said they decided to make a spot for Dylan if we wanted it. We wanted it. Now, we'll just wait and see if we made the right choice.
(P.S. I still haven't ruled out The Dream School for the future, because if anything, I am a dreamer).