A Schooling Dilemma

How cute is that hat?

So it would seem that one of the major disadvantages of only receiving Ava’s birth certificate this week is that we seem to have missed the boat in terms of booking her in at the preparatory school of our choice.  The school we’ve always wanted to enroll her in is full! And they have warned us that their waiting list is also long! I cannot believe that we are already faced with making these types of decisions when our baby is only 18 months old.

We’ve started looking at some of the other schools but its a really difficult decision to make. There is another private school in our area that’s only slightly out of our way, we went to see them on Tuesday and its perfectly fine school. But then we had a look at the curriculum at another private school and now the school we looked at seems somewhat limited with what they have on offer as part of the standard curriculum.

The thing is, at 18 months its impossible to tell what your child will excel at, will they be academic and intellectual, or sporty or arty? So I’d really like Ava to go to a school that offers a variety and mix of all of these things and is not too focused on just one area.

I was very privileged to go to an all girls school that offered everything. From Sub A (I think that’s now Grade R) as part of our normal school day, we not only did the usual academic classes, but also participated in music, rhythmics (dancing), art, swimming, Phys Ed which included gymnastics, tennis, hockey & netball.

I would like Ava to be exposed to these activities and not have to do everything as an extra mural activity.

So now I have reverted to sending an application form to the first (full) school along with a letter explaining our late application, have really tried to appeal to them on an emotional level, explaining Ava is adopted and mentioning the long legal delays because of the changes in the  child act blah blah blah… in the hope that by some miracle they will bump her to the top of the waiting list because of “special” circumstance – never thought I’d try to use Ava’s adoption to our advantage, but there you go, her education is really important and a girl needs to do what a girl needs to do.

We’ve also looked at some of the other private schools with the intention that if any of them are suitable, we will move. There is also a goverment school which we are zoned for that’s not too bad but it just doesn’t appeal to me. It just doesn’t look as nice as the private schools.

This is her education. This is important. Right now, I’m just hoping that something gives because I don’t think either Walter or I have a clue on what to do now?! So my advise to any Mom’s out there who are expecting or have new babies and you want them to be schooled privately in SA is to go asap and get them registered at the schools in your area to avoid this dilemma.

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  • Reply Christelle

    My first choice for Zani’s “school” was Rosecastel ( and when I phoned them – 3 months before she was even born – we were told they were full and that they can only put her on the waiting list. She has now been on that waiting list for 17 months!

    The schools she is in now is no where near a nice-looking as that one, but I think we made the right choice (as if we had one) to put her there.

    What I’m trying to say is, sometimes Plan B works out beter than Plan A.

    Apply to the other school in your area as well, just to have a back up. Can’t hurt can it? But I do know how it feels when you “loose” your heart upon walking into a school – and to find out they are full – very dissapointing.

    Love the hat!

    June 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Its not playschool/nursery school I’m concerned about, that’s sorted. Its booking them in at a preparatory/ primary school where we’re having a problem and I never thought I’d need to start worrying about Grade R already!

      June 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm
  • Reply Paula

    Yup it is hectic! I have to tell you that convenience ie close to home is a major consideration, in terms of after school activities. Danielle is doing swimming twice a week and ballet and I just wouldn’t get there if it wasn’t really near to home. Just my 2 cents.. Also, in terms of the variety of subjects, I wouldn’t worry too much about that, in the end they can only do so much, and personally I think it is a valuable lesson for them to choose something and stick with it rather than have a lot of options that doesn’t really contribute to their education. I am the product of a basic government school, and turned out OK ;)! Not that I am saying that one should take the first option, my kids are going to the local private school too when the time comes!

    June 10, 2011 at 8:44 am
  • Reply Laura

    I would still put her on the waiting list – alot happens in 4/5 years – people move away or change their mind etc etc – so put her name down and then keep looking 🙂

    Choosing schools really is a tough one but I agree with the whole being exposed thing – my kids go to a public school but they have access to so many activities – which they didnt have at the small private school they were at and it really does make a huge difference.

    June 10, 2011 at 9:43 am
  • Reply Gwen

    I’m terrified of not getting a place anywhere, and I’ll move house if necessary to make sure that Luke goes to a decent school. Because I’m so paranoid, I’ve put his name down at every conceivable private school (7 of them) plus the two government schools that I consider to be acceptable. I’m afraid it’s people like me who are clogging up the waiting lists and the lists will probably get a lot shorter when all those people have to make a final choice. That said, I have heard of two people recently who have put their daughters’ names down shortly after birth, and neither was accepted into the school of their choice.

    June 10, 2011 at 9:54 am
  • Reply Gwen

    PS – I’m even considering putting his name down at the German, French and American International schools, just in case, but everyone else tells me that’s OTT.

    June 10, 2011 at 9:55 am
  • Reply Lesley

    Alex is already booked in at the private school of our choice. I just managed to get him in when he was 3 months old. We had to pay half of a hectic deposit. Which year are you considering for Grade R for Ava? The info I received was that we will need to get special permission from the Dept of Education if we want to delay Grade R until he is 7 turning 8 because otherwise like Ava he’ll be one of the youngest in the class. Our decision was to put him into Grade 000 in 2014 (three years old turning four only in the Dec) and see how he does.

    June 10, 2011 at 10:03 am
  • Reply To Love Bella

    ah crap! do i need to wait for the birth certificate? i wonder if that includes her playschool. proddelby.
    hey listen – you are surely not the first to have done what you did ito resubmitting the app to the school of our choice. i am happy to admit that i may even have done the same thing! it is not necessarily using her adoption to your advantage – it’s the plain and simple truth.
    now i’m pooping myself. best i get my A into G… asap.

    June 10, 2011 at 11:27 am
  • Reply Gwen

    I don’t think you need to wait for the birth certificate. Some of the pre-schools and all of the prep schools ask for it, but I’m sure if you sent them the application and registration fee together with a letter explaining about the birth certificate they’d put you on the list.

    June 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm
  • Reply Julia

    Agree with Laura. Put her name down. Lots can happen in 4/5 years. And you have nothing to lose. Sorry I can’t be of anymore help.x

    June 13, 2011 at 10:15 pm
  • Reply Vanessa

    We had the same challenges with our adopted daughter, now 11. We got her into the private all girl school of our choice, by chance rather than by design. My son, still remains at a school that was Hobsons choice. Our latest little darling, our ‘laatlammetjie’ is also 18 month’s old. I have applied, without birth certificate, simply stating that we will provide this as soon as we receive it. Ridiculous, isn’t it, that the adoption paperwork causes this long-term dilemma.

    All girl school applications in Cape Town’s ssubs are over-subscribed but there are truly fantastic schools worth wait-listing for, for the very reasons you mention.

    Put her name down, there is often a late cancellation. I don’t know whether you are in CT or JHB>.

    June 14, 2011 at 10:37 am
    • Reply Sharon

      We are in Johannesburg!

      June 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm
      • Reply Vanessa

        I notice that you have submitted your paperwork for baby no #. Good luck, I hope it’s a short “pregnancy”. And good luck with schooling, if I was in Johannesburg St Anne’s would be my school of choice or Rodean. Hope to meet someday, I like the tone of your blog and your writing style.

        June 20, 2011 at 9:21 am

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