Note: this is a blog post originally wrote in December 2018. It has been edited and posted on July 22, 2019.
On Wednesday, November 28, Julia and I went to the Alton Public School and signed him up.
Now, I must admit that with all of my focus on children in nature, and being highly informed on daycare and forest schools over the past six months, it was a challenge for me to take him to an institutional setting. But at the same time, I felt that if I just let go of my tightly held preconceived notions and just went as an observer, I could evaluate better. And biting this bullet actually yielded something amazing. It almost feels like we managed to hit Arthur’s education on the nail yet again.
The rural Alton Public School is a STEAM school. Science, technology, engineering, ARTS, Math. That’s right. First graders learn basic logic programming and sixth graders use chromebooks to program and tablets for research. As a performing arts school as well, every year are plays, musicals, and choirs. The quality of it’s programs are near to a private education degree. We have met parents who make long (45m) treks to bring their kids to this school.
If I had known such schools existed, I never would have imagined I would have a kid at one of these. It’s like primary school for kids who go on to Masters or PHDs. It’s really incredible to see what’s going on.
For the primary years, there is a near perfect student-teacher ratio of 6:1. Both a teacher and an Early Childhood Educator work in the same classroom, and classes are 12-15 kids. The kids are self-directed (Woooo! From the Montessori school of thought!) in their playing.
Arthur is going to get the support he needs, the teaching and isn’t going to fall between the cracks. He’s going to be lifted up high. His school is highly-rated, and well-loved in the area.
The weirdest thing for Arthur was that he watched a movie at school that was learning. He isn’t used to watching movies during weekday hours, particularly in a care environment that is his primary environment that’s not Mom and Dad. So that was a new experience for him. This does allow Mom and Dad to restrict his screen time at home without him falling behind in his generational understanding of technology.