La Piccola Scuola Italiana di San Francisco

Kindergarten Information

Dear Parents,

As you start the kindergarten process we encourage you to always keep your child’s reality in mind. We all know that when children feel pressure to be or to do something specific they typically do NOT perform at their best. It is easy to get caught up in the adult stress of this process. It’s even easy to exaggerate the importance of admission to a particular school. Also, always ask yourself which school is right for YOUR child. We strongly encourage you to contain your own emotions about the kindergarten selection process and to have confidence in your child(ren). They each have many, many strengths (and they are all different). Allow them to shine.

The Kindergarten search process

This is a process that each family “owns.” For this process, you should:
  • Identify and research schools of interest for you and your child. This includes private, parochial, and public schools.
  • Prepare an initial list of schools and questions that you may have, about the school and/or process that you can use with your conversations with LPSI.
  • Follow and adhere to the requirements presented by each school. (i.e., scheduling tours/interviews/playdates, application deadlines, etc.)
  • When you tour a school always look at the children: are they engaged? Do they look happy?
La Piccola Scuola is here to support your process. Here are the main ways that we will do that:
  • La Piccola Scuola regularly assesses each child’s development and honestly shares our observations and opinions with you at the parent teachers conferences. This is invaluable and important because it can help you to see your own child as others do and also informs you as to how we will represent your child in the evaluation that we send to the elementary schools. Our assessment of your child should inform your decision making as you choose which schools will best fit your child’s personality and needs. You may also come to us if you have any questions about where your child would thrive. However, you should also know that we are not allowed to give you a copy of the evaluation form provided from the school you are applying to. These forms are confidential. Private schools are very adamant about this and have repeatedly said that it would jeopardize the admission process as they would feel with are not being honest with them.
  • At LPSI we also do our best to form professional and collegial relationships with various independent schools by touring them on a regular basis and making ourselves available to their Admissions Directors for consultation.
  • We will continually update our knowledge of local public schools so that we can share our understandings of what they offer.
  • We will help you understand which parts of the process are important and what parts are relatively insignificant, so that you can focus your energies in the right direction.
  • We will promote a calm atmosphere during the whole process, keeping your children’s well being in mind.
  • We will advocate for families after decision letters have been sent, if there are particular circumstances that warrant such action.
  • We will maintain relationships with LPSI alumni and will facilitate connections between LPSI families who may be able to support you in your search.

Please bear in mind that your child, and to some extent your family, is the primary influence on schools’ selections. La Piccola Scuola or any other preschool does not have a major impact on whether your child gets into your top choice school vs. any other school. There is strong consensus in the Preschool community in San Francisco about the following: Any particular preschool’s reputation, track record, and personal relations with admissions personnel at the elementary schools does NOT necessarily determine admissions. Ultimately it you and your child that will determine that and all private and parochial schools look for a ‘goodness of fit’ between your child and their program.

Additionally, another bit of advice is that even if you are just SURE that you are only interested in an independent or parochial school, you should research and apply to public schools as well. There are many very good public elementary schools in San Francisco. And while the process may seem daunting, it does work out in the end!

During this process please do not hesitate in reaching out to Valentina, and other LPSI mothers who have been through this process (Heather Gatti, Michelle Lever, Rachel Glitz, Melanie McCauley) or have a deep knowledge of the K process (Kristen Borsetti, Kindergarten Liason). LPSI is here to help you navigate through this process and will support you, but do not forget that you are stirring the boat.

Cari Saluti

Valentina & LPSI Admission Committee

Typical Kindergarten Timeline (use this as a reference point)

  • PPS-SF Public Schools 101 Choosing an Elementary School: check their website for date
  • Private / Parochial/Public School Open Houses / Tours / Interviews: call to schedule
  • SFUSD Enrollment Fair, 9am to 3pm: check their website for date
  • Private / Parochial/Public School Open Houses / Tours / Interviews
  • Private / Parochial/Public School Open Houses / Tours / Interviews
  • Public School Enrollment Applications Due: do not miss your deadline!
  • Private Schools Children/Parents Interviews / Playdates
  • No events scheduled
  • Notification Letters Are Mailed
  • Replies are required (typically a week after the letters are mailed)

Ready or Not...Preparing Young Children for the Classroom Source: National Association for the Education of Young Children

There is no one quality or skill that children need to do well in school-a combination of factors contribute to school success. These include physical well-being, social and emotional maturity, language skills, an ability to solve problems and think creatively, and general knowledge about the world. School success also depends upon the "match" between children's skills and knowledge and the school's expectations. More children succeed when these expectations reflect knowledge of child development and early learning. So choose your child’s school carefully! Here are some suggestions of how parents and schools can promote a good match for every child.

Parents can:

Take advantage of learning opportunities in every day activities. These will make a big difference in preparing young children for the classroom.

  1. Promote good health and physical well-being. Children obviously need nutritious food, enough sleep, safe places to play, and regular medical care. In addition to medical and dental checkups and immunizations, preschoolers need opportunities to exercise and develop physical coordination. Throwing balls, running, jumping, climbing, dancing to music--all of these activities will enhance coordination and help children learn important concepts such as up, down, inside, outside, over, and under.
  2. Support your child's social and emotional development. Children who are kind, helpful, patient, and loving generally do better in school, and feeling good about oneself is an important aspect of developing desirable social skills. Tell your child how glad you are to be his parent. Set a good example for your preschooler by showing what it means to get along with others and to be respectful. Give children chances to learn about sharing and caring, for example letting them feed hungry birds, or helping them make cookies to welcome a new neighbor.
  3. Build your child's language and general knowledge. There are many things you can do to help your child learn to communicate, and develop an understanding of the world. Don't underestimate the value of play! Play allows children to explore, be creative, and develop social skills. It also paves the way for academic learning. For example, children learn key concepts important in geometry while stacking blocks, and playing with others helps with negotiation skills. Talk to your children. Everyday activities, such as eating lunch, cleaning up toys, or taking a bath, provide opportunities to talk. Listening and responding to a child is the best way to learn what's on her mind, to discover what she knows and doesn't know, and how she thinks and learns. Listening also shows children that their feelings and ideas are valuable. Finally, read together frequently. Fostering your child's love of books is a gift that will last a lifetime!
  4. Not assume a child with a late birth date should be held out of school. Research shows that children receive little, if any, advantage when held out of school because of late birth dates. And, the practice may have a negative impact on other children by encouraging school expectations better suited to older children.

Schools can/should:

  1. Be prepared to respond to a diverse range of abilities within any group of young children. Small group sizes with enough teachers who are skilled in early childhood education make it easier to provide the individualized attention every child deserves
  2. Offer a curriculum and teaching practices that reflect principles of child development and learning and provide many active, meaningful learning opportunities that build upon children's existing knowledge and abilities.
  3. Make sure expectations of children are reasonable and age-appropriate. Even children who have received every advantage prior to school struggle when demands are too great, experiencing stress and having their confidence as learners undermined.
  4. Not use tests as the primary measure for entry decisions. Developmental screening to detect a health problem or developmental disability is important to ensure early diagnosis and treatment, but tests should not be used to determine school entry for at least three reasons: (1) Children are not good test takers, especially with strangers in unfamiliar settings. (2) Young children are growing and learning rapidly; test results may change greatly in six months. (3) Tests too often ignore language and culture variations and may not give a true picture of a child's skills and knowledge.
Additional Resources

NAEYC. 1995. Ready or Not: What Parents Should Know about School Readiness. Washington, DC: NAEYC.