Not sure what the difference is between a neighborhood, charter, magnet, special focus, and private school? Wondering where to go to start educating yourself about deadlines, school tours, and next steps? We sat down with Keely Buchanan, co-founder of Preparing for Denver Kindergarten, to learn a bit more about how they act as a resource for parents in the Denver area
How do you help parents?
My business partner, Nicole Martin, and I own a company called Preparing for Denver Kindergarten. We help Denver parents of littles, aged 1-5, navigate the search for public and private Preschool and Kindergarten. We also help parents new to the district/state, and those with kiddos who are not thriving in their current environments. We host monthly parent group information sessions from August – January focused on Denver Public Schools (DPS), and all area Private Schools. And, we also work with parents one-on-one via private consultations throughout the year (for DPS and many other districts), offering customized enrollment information, lists of schools, recommendations for classroom environments, teachers, and programs, and live developmental assessments of littles aged 2-5+.
Nicole was a 1st Grade Teacher and has owned a Wash Park Early Childhood Literacy focused Preschool for 11 years (Martin School of Early Education). I manage Communications & Distance Learning for the tech side of a Fortune 500 during the day, and follow my passion for helping parents on the side. I am a data nerd and have done hundreds and hundreds of hours of research so that parents don’t have to. We both have two boys: ages 5 and 3, and are both currently navigating the Kinder (and beyond) process ourselves.
How can your services ease emotional stress for families?
The search for Preschool and Kindergarten can be overwhelming to say the least. We strive to help parents move through their anxiety to a place of knowledge and excitement about their choices. We tour a LOT of public and private schools, meet with a LOT of Principals and Heads of School, complete a LOT of research, talk to a LOT of parents, and are passionate about helping parents find the best fit for their kiddo, budget, commute, educational philosophy, and long term goals. We will never tell a parent where to send their kiddo, but we can help them narrow down the search, understand all options, odds, and deadlines. We then provide our recommendations based upon what they are looking for and who their kiddo is. Parents leave our sessions truly understanding all of the options, armed with deadlines, best practices, resources, and plans for next steps and school tours.
Do you think that your class could help prevent a child from having emotional challenges in school some day?
Gosh, we would hope so! Most of the stories that we hear about wrong fit and having to move kiddos from school to school, are due to a parent not fully understanding all of the available options open to them ahead of time (i.e. DPS Preschool entry points for Montessori and Dual Language, Advanced Kindergarten testing and deadlines, searching beyond a neighborhood school, exploring lottery options like Expeditionary, Dual Language, International, Innovation, Charter, Montessori). If a parent has the luxury to truly understand all choices, deadlines, and odds for public school, they can then do their best to find the best fit for their kiddo. And, if they have the luxury of a private school budget, they can fully compare/contrast private schools to find the best fit as well (Gifted, Parochial/Religious, Montessori, Waldorf, Dual Language, International, Micro, Progressive, Traditional, Independent, Diverse, etc.).
How would someone find you and seek your services?
We have a web site (http://preparingfordenver.wix.com/kinderprep), are very active on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/PreparingforDenverKindergarten), and parents can email us at PreparingforDenverKindergarten@gmail.com, or give Keely a call at 303-638-2894.
On a more personal note, what kind of music makes you smile?
Right now, I smile quite a bit when my boys (Arlo: 5.5 and Nelson: 3.75) and I listen to and sing along with our favorite kid CDs in the car and at home. Our current favorites are Justin Roberts, Peter Alsop (from my childhood), and myriad Soundtracks (Despicable Me 2, RIO, RIO 2, Muppets Most Wanted).