Elementary school

Blackberry #1 will start first grade in September. Which means I have to find him the perfect school, with the perfect teacher, he has to win a place at the school, and I have to enroll him. And all this has to be done this spring.


I have been working on this project since last November. I visited 3 schools’s principles, I put him on preliminary lists. I have been going to open days which were held for the kids and I also visited some classes which the future teachers were teaching (without kids).

They say you are supposed to pick a teacher and not a school….

My criteria for our school are: It should be a reputable, strong school.

It should be pretty close to where we live.

I want him to learn english.


In our city there are 24 district elementary school, 2 private school (one of them a Waldorf) and 2 foundation-schools which are run by the University. They actually have some interesting classes, like one school offers english- kayak/ canoe classes.

I don’t want him to go to a private school because that would mean to commit to it financially for 8 years. And since at the moment I am not working, we cannot afford this. But I am not sad about this, because there are a few great school we can try that will be free.

We live downtown, so 5 elementary school are all within 3-5 blocks from us.

So I visited 3. Our district school means if we apply they HAVE to accept us, since we live in this district. Our district school has a pretty good reputation, the teachers seem nice, but my only problem is, that in that school you can only learn German 😦

So I am concentrating on the 2 foundation school that belong to the University.Β  These don’t have districts so it is really hard to get into them. The principles decide who gets in. One of them even has an entrance exam!

So this Wednesday I got the news that BB#1 was accepted to one of these schools, and he got into the english class. This school is considered the most elite school in the city…. So I should be honoured we are accepted. I am thrilled, but I have one problem. This school is probably a really competitive school and I don’t really like our future first grade teacher. I heard she is really strict, military style, who sometimes screams, and some kids are afraid of her. She does not look like a first grade teacher, she dresses too sexy for my taste. But ofcourse I don’t know her personally, and I don’t really know how effective she teaches. I am afraid she will crunch my little guy, and he will loose his interest and will hate learning, school etc….

In the other school I like the future teachers. That school will have its entrance exam next week on monday and tuesday. They will have 4 classes: english, german, art, music. They say the english is really popular so there is 2-3x more kids applying to this class. To get into the music and arts the kid has to have some talent in these fields… I thought maybe we can apply to the music and the english class.

I am totally stressed. Maybe I am overreacting all this.

Should I just be glad we got into the best school and pray the teacher wont be that bad, or should I also take him for an entrance exam (which is already stressing him, and me out) at the other school to boroaden our choices? I am afraid if we go to the exam they will take our paper (which is necessary to enroll into school, but of which we only get one), and we might not even get into our choice of class, but then we wont be able to enroll into the elite school either….

I a totally suck at making big decisions 😦

Anyone have any thoughts?

How did you choose a school for your little one?


10 thoughts on “Elementary school

  1. Oh my goodness, I do not look forward to these type of decisions. I have no help to give except moral support. I think both the schools sound great (much much better than the public schools in my hometown for sure!) and am a little jealous that arts, languages and even kayak-canoeing are taught at such a young age! Maybe we should move to Hungary when z is school age. πŸ™‚
    Good luck on your decision and let us know what happens.

    • Thank you Jennifer for the moral support πŸ™‚ The kayak-canoe class also sounds good, but I don’t think that school is very strong, otherwise, and that school is located next to my favorite cake shop, so if I took BB#1 there I think I would be a Hippo by 8th grade πŸ™‚ I cannot resist the shop! πŸ™‚ Such yummy cakes πŸ™‚

  2. I can feel you. I had a lot of problems with the schools up to now.
    My experience ; I went to a private primary school and to a state girls school afterward ( gymnasium / Lyceum). I am very satisfied with the education I received .
    Unfortunately I didn’t have the same luck with my daughters.
    I chose a catholic school for primary but in the end I wasn’t satisfied at all. Then they went to a Gymnasium ( grammar school) in Germany, well, no comments!
    Later we moved for 2 years in England where we experienced a super school for the older one , she did her A levels,( the Highworth grammar school for girls) and 2 terrible Academy’s for the younger one, she did!n’t pass the 11 plus exams just for a few marks. We should have appealed !
    In September she will try again for the Hughworth!
    Conclusion , a good school , if possible a boy’s school , the education is always of higher standards.
    Prepare him well before but it is worth trying for the best.
    Hope I didn’t cause you more headache!

  3. Woah what a stress I’d hate to make a decision like that. Its a tough one.
    Am I right in think the teacher is only with the children for one year? Here in Poland The teacher stays with the child for a number of years before going on to the next. In the UK they change teacher every year which personally think is better. Like you said some parents might not like the teacher but knowing its only for one year could be a positive thing,
    Being strict at this young age is needed in the classroom sadly. Although screaming isn’t the way to do. Perhaps raise these concerns with the head master.
    Wishing you all the best on your decision making, x

    • I guess it is the same way as it is in Poland. The first grade teacher either stays with the kids for 2 or for 4 years! At the school where he was accepted, He would have that teacher for 4 years! The head master is kind of scary too 😦 She is like a Queen Bee πŸ™‚ I don’t think I would be able to talk with her about this. I don’t think it is possible to put him with another teacher.

  4. I totally hear what you are saying and it is very stressful, however, can I tell you what happened to us in Italy? Max’s (my 11 yr old) teacher is young, yells a lot and is very strict with the kids and I was freaking out, BUT he loves her. SHe has been very helpful with him and the language, she has pushed him, been kind to him and had all the students best interests at heart. I went from thinking OMG, Max will be eaten up by this women but in fact she has been the best thing for him and she has respect from all the kids. Maybe this will be the same for you? She must have good qualities if a very good school is willing to hire her don’t you think?

  5. Ugh. We are also going through it this year, except as foreigners here there’s not much we can do except wait to see which places are left over! I’m sort of glad for that!

    I guess my backup plan is if the first school doesn’t work out then… I will make a backup plan πŸ™‚ . Meaning we’ll consider private schools or home schooling. And when I say “homeschooling” I mean you can pay a lot of tutors for what you’d spend on private schools, so I wouldn’t even have to do it all myself. Or we could move countries :). (Bit drastic??)

    Anyway, good luck! I think (hope) these decisions are usually scarier when they’re still in the future.

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