By Laura Gradman
Chicago Preschool Pro
For Chicago's young families, admissions season is a flurry of
dates, deadlines, research and introspection. The beginning of the
process feels exciting and enlightening as families explore the
plethora of options that exist in our city, both public and
private. As time goes on, excitement morphs into anxiety and stress
and the idea that admissions decisions are out of their hands can
make families feel like they are at the mercy of the system.
Letters of acceptance, non-acceptance or wait listing bring with
them more emotion. For many families it's relief and joy, but for
others it's more uncertainty as they are once again tasked with
finding the right school. At that point, it's critical that
families try to stay positive and keep in mind their ultimate goal
of finding the best school for their children.
Here are five ways to reinvigorate your school search:
1. Try to understand why the school didn't see a
At first, a letter of non-acceptance may feel like a stab in the
back. It's difficult not to take it as a personal rejection of your
family. Keep in mind that, many times, it's only indicative of a
lack of space or need for a certain gender or birth date to balance
out the class. That said, it's also important to consider why the
school may not have been the best fit for your family.
2. Reexamine your priorities.
It can be difficult to change your trajectory so far along in the
process, but take this opportunity to reconsider what is important.
There may be items that initially fell further down on your list
that hold more weight than you initially thought.
3. Embrace the needs of your child and
The admissions process should revolve around what is best for your
family. This is different from what is important for your
neighbor's family. Remind yourself of what you're working towards
and it will help you to refocus.
4. Educate yourself on new philosophies of
There are so many schools in the city of Chicago and many of us
only focus on four or five of them. Take another look at schools
that may be new or simply not as well known and read their mission
statements and philosophies of education. Ever heard of the Reggio
Emilia approach? There's a new school called Bennett Day School in the West Loop
built around this proven philosophy. Try not to be put off by
something you're unfamiliar with. You may find yourself excited to
pursue something new.
5. Jump back in. Although the process may seem long (and
it is!), the goal remains the same. Keep going until you
find the best school for your family. Trust me, it's worth it!
For more information on Bennett Day School, call (312) BENNETT
(312-268-7383) or email [email protected].
Laura Gradman is a Licensed Professional Counselor with 10
years of experience as an educational consultant, guidance
counselor and teacher. Personal experience, combined with countless
conversations with other parents about navigating the
often-overwhelming task of finding the right school, led to the
creation of Chicago
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