La decisión

A letter arrived last night, letting us know that Mali got into Esperanza, the local Spanish Immersion public elementary school that her older sister attended.

The school to which I'd already resigned myself to her not going, because I didn't realize alumni still had to take the mandatory school tour, plus the administrative staff completely turned over since Iz arrived and no one remembered us, and the principal said (even after we took a tour) that admission would likely not happen.

I was content with the local kinder but am now conflicted. Seymour's not, he wants her in Spanish immersion and thinks that a kid who is already excelling at dramatic readings will be bored in a regular kinder; I suspect it would be nice for her to mess around and do crafts and non-reading kinder learning for a year. But it is hard to turn away from free language immersion *combined* with regular kinder learning and crafts.

Have to make a decision by tomorrow. What would you do?

Yes Esperanza

  • Spanish Immersion for Free, Free, FREE!
  • Full-day kindergarten
  • Three kids in three different schools no matter what
No Esperanza
  • Fifteen minutes across town
  • Three different school year schedules (local kinder & Iz's school are on same calendar)
  • Strict dress code (but I have hand-me-downs from Iz)
Yes Neighborhood School
  • At the bottom of the hill where I pass it 6x each day
  • Neighborhood kids, neighborhood friends?
  • Ep and other friends have kids there


  1. This is HARD. I am a HUUUUUUGE fan of having your kid be in the same school as the kids she plays with on her block...otherwise, they develop all these relationships and have all these in jokes, and your kid will be out of it all. (This is especially true for places like where we live, which has about a dozen school-aged kids all right near each other...but may not be as much of an issue for you.)

    On the other hand...immersion. Free immersion. For a bright kid. Hard to say no to that, too.

    I just don't know. Seriously. I don't know.

  2. Anonymous4:43 PM

    That's a tough call, but Iz has already been through that program and it seems like she thrived - what does Mali think?

  3. hmmm. i don't think a bright kid with a bright mom will suffer a sudden downturn in brightness because she doesn't have language immersion. sounds like she needs a drama club. :-) if you were already content with the regular kinder, i would be really tempted to stick with it. it sounds pretty good to have it so close, have both girls on the same calendar, etc. local friends would be very keen. and having friends with kids in the same school...people to attend school events together, already a sense of community...i dunno, it sounds pretty good to me.

    is the regular kinder free, too? is it also all day? and what does non reading mean?

    on the other hand...15 minutes is not far, and language immersion, though not something i'm well familiar with, sounds awfully cool. i like an all day program.

    i know. i'm not helping.

  4. Anonymous4:53 PM

    This isn't going to be much help, BUT, I do think we tend to overthink these things. It's kindergarten. Keep it simple. Life is complicated enough. I vote for the neighborhood school. Good luck.

  5. Feel free to punch me in the face for marching my (currently) child-free butt in here and offering assvice...

    But, maybe different schedules could be a blessing in disguise? Quality time with each kid maybe? Or maybe just frantic scrambling, I don't really know.

    The other thought that comes to mind though, is that for your family, simplifying the daily routine might be a really helpful and awesome thing.

  6. Spanish immersion. You live in California; youth is the time to learn languages; you can handle the scheduling inconviences; and are you seriously worried Mali won't be able to make friends in the neighborhood if she goes to a different school for a couple of years?

  7. Hey Squid,

    how nice you are getting a choice, after all.

    immersion sounds great, always, but... boy, measured against dealing with a third school year schedule plus 15 minutes across town? me thinks that, since you might consider your plate already full these days (!!), quality of life for everyone might be improved with less PLANNED complications. i mean, we get plenty of UNPLANNED complications as it is!


  8. I don't know!

    Then I thought, especially after reading MB's comment----what will be least stressful on you? Often I think I can handle 7 different things at once and then I forget a really important meeting and I realize, um, i have a little too much going on.

    I'll send Mali some Greek alphabet blocks, Latin for kids, any day..........

  9. off-topic. You wrote an article a while back about distinctive features of autistic kids.

    Back Sleep in infants changes head shape (plagiocephaly), causes torticollis, causes strabismus, ear configuration, position of eyes, increases blood pressure in infants, increases apnea episodes and lowers their core temperature. It also causes social skills delays, milestone delays, increases the rate of gastroesophageal reflux.....10% of U.S. infants slept on their backs in 1992 and now 76% of U.S. infants sleep on their backs...I'm just saying....

  10. Immersion! It's so important to start languages young young young, plus, anything to avoid the pain of a bright little person learning to loathe school because they're not challenged.

  11. I vote for whichever one will be less stressful for you. Your daughter will most likely be happy and succeed no matter what elementary school you send her to.

  12. In the interest of maximizing your choices in the long term, I'd go with the Spanish immersion IF and only if you don't think it will drive you completely bananas to have the three different schedules.

    The reasoning being: you can always pull her out of the program later, but you probably can't get her into the program later.

  13. This is the problem with connecting with so many smart and thoughtful people. Thanks for all of your input.

    We are going to put her in Esperanza. The free language immersion is not something we can turn away from, and this is about her, not about me. She will thrive, and I can deal with the more complicated schedule; we've done 3x3x before.

    @TC, our street is full of retirees and hermity eccentrics and people who are freaked out by Leo's unpredictable behavior. There are no kids playing in the streets. But there might be other kids on other nearby streets, and I was hoping to meet them.

    @TSC: citation please?

  14. Anonymous12:11 PM

    Aahh shucks! you made your decision before I had a chance to tell you what to do. How could you?

    (yes, an anonymous stranger)

    (OK, this is eerie; the verification word is "ingles". shouldn't you take that as a sign of some sort? Not sure which decision it would advocate for, of the one you've made already, but, still . . . .)


Respectful disagreement encouraged.