Choosing the Right Kindergarten for Your Child: Open House October 16 & 26

If you have a child three or four years old, it’s time to start thinking about kindergarten.

“Wait – you must be kidding,” you’re thinking.

Actually we’re very serious.

Choosing a kindergarten or junior kindergarten that aligns with your personal values, and is a good match for your child, is extremely important. If you start thinking about school for your children when he or she is three and four years old, you’ll feel better prepared when he is ready to start his first day. And many independent and private schools have completed their admissions process by March each year.

Choosing the Best Fit sat down with Cary Mauck, Director of Admissions at St. Christopher’s School, to gain insights into choosing the right school for your child.

“Choosing the right school includes thinking about the best fit for both your child and your family. Parents or guardians should consider the all-encompassing educational experience when evaluating the best school match. I believe parents make a mistake by basing their decision solely on what they hear or read. You don’t truly know a school until you’ve visited the campus and observed the culture. This is when you really feel the rhythm and the pulse of what a school is like. Seeing teachers and kids interact really helps you understand what’s going on in the classroom every day,” explains Cary.

Most Richmond-area independent schools hold their Admission Open Houses for pre-K and kindergarten during October. St. Christopher’s School manages admissions according to a calendar targeting February 22 as the date that all applications, visits, and tests are completed. Acceptance letters are going out at that point, so getting an early start on evaluating schools for 2013 is important.

Parents Have Choices

St. Christopher’s School recognizes that parents have options about which school their child(ren) attend, and choosing the right school for each individual child is essential.

“Not every school is right for every child. Parents have to think about what’s important to them and what environment is right for their child. If they’re looking for a school that offers excellent education with a religious component, that should be a part of their decision-making process. It may be important for others to focus on schools with specific athletic programs or artistic training as a part of the overall experience. A school that welcomes active parents may also be a consideration for those who want to be more closely involved. That’s why attending an open house and seeing a school up close is so critical,” Cary emphasizes.

What St. Christopher’s School Offers

St. Christopher’s School is a college preparatory school for boys from junior kindergarten though 12th grade.  The school seeks to prepare a talented and diverse group of boys for college and for life in an ever-changing world.

Academics, athletics, the arts, the honor system, chapel, global engagement, service to others and a strong sense of community are essential elements that comprise the core curriculum at St. Christopher’s.  And with a class size of approximately 15 students across all three divisions, students receive lots of focused attention and support.

“We focus on educating the Whole Boy through a three-pronged approach to education – mind, body and spirit. We believe this helps develop young boys into responsible, well-rounded young men who are prepared for college and the future,” Cary explains.

St. Christopher’s School also engages in various activities throughout the year with their sister school, St. Catherine’s (an all-girls school). This enables Lower and Middle School boys to participate in different events throughout the year such as an English tea, Colonial Day, Caldecott project, dances and special holiday events.  Upper School boys and girls share campuses, faculty, and classrooms providing them with much greater depth and breadth in the curriculum as well as a meaningful coed experience in preparation for life in college and beyond.

“Since we are closely connected with St. Catherine’s School, it makes it easy for parents to manage having children in two different schools,” Cary points out. “Brothers and sisters are able to share some of the experiences of both campuses while enjoying leadership opportunities and sustaining advisor relationships they have developed at their respective schools.”

Financial Need Programs

You may think that independent schools are not financially feasible for your personal situation. But don’t let that stop you from checking them out as an option. Many offer some type of financial assistance to help attract families who have children who would benefit from their school’s education.  At St. Christopher’s, need-based financial aid for students is available through an application process with SSS.

The school’s admission process is “need blind” so that financial need is not a consideration or deterrent in extending acceptance to students. While it does not guarantee financial aid will be provided, it does ensure that every applicant has the same opportunity for acceptance if he or she meets specific admissions criteria.

Upcoming Prospective Parent Orientation

Parents interested in learning more about St. Christopher’s School and what they have to offer for pre-K and kindergarten can attend their upcoming Kindergarten Prospective Parent Orientation. They have two chances to attend:

  1. Tuesday, October 16 – 9:00 a.m.
  2. Friday, October 26 – 9:00 a.m.

The orientation day provides an opportunity for parents to visit the campus, hear from school administrators , visit in classrooms, and meet teachers, students and current parents. It is a relaxed way to evaluate the school in a group environment without making any commitments.  Children are eligible for the application process based on age:

  • Kindergarten applications for the 2013-2014 school year are now being accepted for boys who will be 5 years old before October 1, 2013.
  • Pre-kindergarten applications are available for boys who will be 5 years old before November 1, 2013.

Cary sums it up best, “At St. Christopher’s, we are committed to helping boys succeed in school and beyond. It is an ongoing commitment to help them grow from boys of promise to men of character.”

Learn more about St. Christopher’s School at their fall Open Houses on October 16 or 26, 2012 or call 282-3185.

St. Christopher’s is an advertiser on


Rhonda is the mother of two adult daughters and a grandmother to five wonderful grandchildren – and our only grandmother on staff. She spent 25 years in corporate healthcare managing prenatal and disease management programs. She is the Content Manager for Richmondmom and contributes her expertise as both a mom and grandmother – while sorting out the many opportunities for our valuable advertisers.

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