Monday, December 19, 2011

The hunt for Ryan's pre-school (Part 6)

Richard and I were surprised to receive this in our email inboxes a few days ago.

Dear Parents

We are pleased to inform you that we have a vacancy for your child for 2012 Pre-Nursery session 1(8.15am to 11.15am) at Harding Campus

Attached is the letter for payment for the book fee and school bus form (for transport please reply asap).

You are also required to pay the term 1 school fee for 2012 Pre-Nursery Playgroup which is $1284 together with the book fee amount of $749.

Payment can be made either by cash or by cheque. You may post the cheque.

Please make payment to St. James' Church Kindergarten by 19 December 2011 in order to confirm your Child's place.

If we do not receive any reply by 19 December 2011, we will assume that you are not taking up the vacancy and will remove your child's name from the wait list.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require more information.

We open Monday to Friday. ( except on Public Holidays)
Time: 9am to 4pm (during school term)
Time : 9am to 12 noon (during school holiday)


Ruth Henry
St James' Church Kindergarten
Tel : 6476 6026

I remembered that, while we were still living in River Valley, we made a visit to SJCK in April 2010 and, since we had made the effort to visit, we thought we might as well put Ryan's name down on the waiting list. Looks like Ryan has now got a place in the morning session at the Harding campus, which was apparently the most popular and coveted slot.

When we visited in April 2010, we were told that the Harding campus will have to move out in 2012 (possibly 2013 if they get a one-year extension on their lease), but they did not know where to. I assume this means that they'll be sticking around till 2013.

It didn't take us long to decide that we will not be taking up the spot. There are several reasons. First, now that we are living in the east, it does not make sense for Ryan to travel the distance to Dempsey everyday. Ryan goes swimming every weekend at the Aquaducks swimming pool which is adjacent to the pre-school so we are very familiar with the route and the distance. I am also uncomfortable with the uncertainty that the pre-school will have to move out from its present location after 2013 (although I have not followed up on this to check if this is still the case. Edit: The school has confirmed that the children born in 2009 will be able to finish their pre-school years in Harding Road).

Second, we are sticking to our decision to keep Ryan out of pre-school until he is four years old, at the earliest, which will be 2013. We do not see any added benefit to sending him to SJCK at this stage. At the moment, he is doing so well, he continues to amaze us all. (Last week, his nanny told us that he wrote his name out on a sheet of paper, unprompted and unguided.)

Third, there are so many better pre-schools in the east. When we visited SJCK in April 2010, it was the first pre-school we visited and we didn't have anything to compare with. Since then, we've visited a few which we feel are much better and have more to offer. So although SJCK was the first we saw, it is not our first choice. SJCK seems to us to be an average pre-school, offering all the usual things. Nothing specifically bad or great about it, nothing particularly worrying, nothing particularly impressive. A general all-rounder, I would say. Good enough, but nothing special.
I did say in my April 2010 post that the staff at SJCK didn't seem very warm or welcoming when we visited them then. I have to say that this email from them is certainly far from warm or welcoming. I would have appreciated a short sentence or two saying how much they look forward to having Ryan join them or something like that. Instead, it's just - 'pay up or we'll kick you out'! I guess it doesn't matter to parents who have been waiting anxiously for a spot. For parents like us, who are less than half-hearted about the pre-school, it's a teeny bit of a turn-off. Never mind the sloppy grammar and punctuation.

We received it on 14 December so we were given 5 days to respond, never mind that the pre-school is closed on two of the five days. I would have appreciated a telephone call? Somehow I get the feeling that they're not that bothered.

Ok, don't get me wrong, SJCK is a decent pre-school and I'm not bothered about the friendliness or unfriendliness of the office staff.  It's just not right for us or Ryan at this point in time, so we're going to pass.


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