5 Ways Kindergarten Prep Feels Like a Job Interview

kindergarten, kids

It’s Thoughty Thursday, and I’m gonna get my rant on. It feels like I’ve been preparing for my kid to go to kindergarten for at least 4 months now.

What happened to the days when you just took a piece of mail, filled out a form and sent your kid to the school in their district? Was that scenario just a figment of my imagination? Why does this feel like a job interview? She doesn’t even start till September.

Do you see the similarities too?

1. You must submit at least 3 forms of ID to the HR Department.

A driver’s license with your current address, a property tax bill, the kid’s birth certificate… And that’s to the district, who is only open for limited times three days a week. We aren’t even talking about the school yet.

Seriously, y’all? What if the family has just moved? Those poor people have to brave the DMV before their kid can go to school? It’s kindergarten, not a space mission.

2. Multiple interviews over several months.

I’ve done orientations for three public schools in my district – one is a magnet school, so that one was optional, but I’m in an area between two elementary schools. Each orientation tells me about the same thing, takes two hours, is tightly regimented and leaves me wondering if this will be the final step.

3. Acceptance hinges on the medical report.

For adults, it’s a drug test; for kids it’s the vaccination report and doctor’s form. What’s all that stuff I heard about “the parent’s choice to vaccinate” the kid?

I’m a firm believer in vaccines, but I’m shocked at how involved this medical report is. Plus, you can’t get it covered via insurance until after the child has a birthday, so my neighbor is having to pay $80 to get it done early before all the kindergarten classes fill up and she’s stuck in the “overflow” classes.

4. Surveys and tests that make no sense.

I don’t know if you’ve ever done those employment tests where they have you manipulate shapes, do math problems that have no bearing on the job, and answer the same question 14 times: No really, I still won’t steal, whether it’s five bucks, five hundred, or five paper clips. Filling out kindergarten forms feels like that, and nobody shares information.

5. You’re pressured to agree to everything, just to get in.

Why yes, I will fundraise, join the PTA, run your computer lab… *comes up for air* 

Wha-a-a–? Really? I just want to send my kid to school. And I want her to like it, and learn a bunch of cool stuff and not get crushed by bullies. I’ll be volunteering as much as I’m able cuz that’s the way I roll, but these parent organizations come at you like pirahnas. It’s a little spooky.

Today is the doctor’s visit. Tomorrow is the 12 page questionairre (not kidding). Maybe then we’ll be done, and the child can go to kindergarten? PLEASE? *whines* I’ve heard there’s a background check to walk on the field for Little League, so who knows what other joys await.

Do any of you with kids remember it being this hard to enroll your kids in everyday activities? Please let me know what I have to look forward to. I’ve got 100 bottles of wine in this house, so bring it on. I’m ready. Enquiring minds need to know these things here at More Cowbell!

~ Jenny

Photo credit: Robert S. Donovan – FlickrCC License 2.0

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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22 Responses to 5 Ways Kindergarten Prep Feels Like a Job Interview

  1. K.B. Owen says:

    Whaaa…? I had no idea. Also, a magnet school for kindergarten? Seriously? Can’t they just eat paste and stick crayons up their noses like all the other kids? Each of our boys was in the Advanced Academic Program (aka, Gifted and Talented), but the school system doesn’t screen for that until 2nd grade. Maybe our youngest (now an 8th grader) would have been ready for something more accelerated in 1st or 2nd grade, but certainly not kindergarten.

    I feel for ya, Jenny. It’s been quite a while since we did the kindergarten thing, but the way I remember it, it was one school, one registration, one open house, one vaccination/physical record, and a gazillion forms to fill out the first week of school (because some things never change).

    Hang in there – once you’re clear of the hurdles, you can ignore whatever PTA volunteering crap you want. Stick it in your spam folder. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      YES! That’s what I remember – it used to be easier. The magnet school is K-6 but they pretty much guarantee that the easiest time to get in is kindergarten so we entered the lottery, and did the orientation, and filled out forms. Like I said, I feel like I’ve been doing this for ages.

      However, you’ve made me feel better, so THANK YOU. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Holly Robinson says:

    Love this, Jenny! The only good thing about prepping for kindergarten is that it gets you ready to wade through the college application & financial aid stuff with your kid!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Ohmigod…I have to go through this AGAIN in 12 years? It’s enough to put you off changing school districts (like ever). I had no idea it was this involved just to go to kindergarten. I’m totally having a Calgon moment over this…


  3. karenmcfarland says:

    Lol Kathy! Stick the PTA in the spam folder! That’s hilarious. And Jenny, you know how this stuff drives me crazy. Sad to say it’s been decades since my boys did Kindergarten. But after reading this, maybe it’s not so sad. I would lose my mind if I was forced to go through all those steps. You’d think you were applying for college. They’re five year olds. They’re babes for crying out loud. Why make it so hard. May the force be with you cause you’re going to need it! And lots of wine! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, my youngest went to kindergarten in 1998 (holy moly, I am older than dirt!) It was way easier to get them registered. Shoot, Jenny, college registration was easier than your experience!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      See, I thought that too, about the babies thing, Karen. And then I toured kindergarten. Where they are: doing science experiments, writing essays, raising their hand and saying things like “jellyfish is a compound word” and just generally blowing our minds.

      We didn’t know things like “solid, gas or liquid” existed in kindergarten, unless it was in our pants. It was fairly stunning.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Melissa Lewicki says:

    On my first day of kindergarten (no pre-registration), I made my mother cry. I saw all the big kids going to school by themselves. So, about a block from the school, I told her to go home. I would get to kindergarten by myself. When I got there, they just wanted my name, address and phone number which my 5-year-old self was able to supply. It was a different time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oh, Melissa! I would totally cry if my gal did that to me!! She’s an only child, so I don’t know that she’s got too many ideas about big kids yet, but I’m sure that’s coming with younger sibling friends. Oy.


  5. Totally different time. So different. That’s crazy. You might look into private kindergartens? We had to put our son in one because the school was crazy. Kindergarten was like military school. He wasn’t ready. Then they spend most of first grade trying to make us pay for not putting him through that. We eventually started home schooling him (7th grade) when I couldn’t take crazy anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That makes me sad, that you would be penalized for making the choices you felt you needed to make for your kid. One of the things available now for the kid who just isn’t ready is TK, or transitional kindergarten, so that’s on the upside, since it’s paid for as part of the public school program. The downside(s)? Way to numerous to list here!


  6. yvettecarol says:

    It’s not as bad as that over here in NZ, I have to say. For my two youngest boys, I remember filling out a rather long information sheet, and that was it. We waited on a waiting list for a place and that was it. Your description makes me want to pull my hair out. How horribly frustrating for you, Jenny!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My kids began school in the 80’s and I’m sooooo glad it wasn’t like that, and I was a teacher. I’m surprised they don’t call in the FBI. I thought it was against the law “not” to send your child to school. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Suzanne, it is against the law, but they still make you jump through scads of hoops. It’s an act of Congress to get them in, and I’ve heard it is also one to take them out. *sigh*

      I’m hoping her teachers are just amazing.


  8. Julie Glover says:

    I don’t think it’s as bad in Texas, although the welcome packet has a gazillion “opportunities” to volunteer. By the way, when your kids get to high school, you just hand them the packet and make them fill out as much of it as they can. Then you add medical and insurance information, sign, and done! Hang in there! Kindergarten won’t be forever. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jenny Hansen says:

    Julie, that’s a wonderful thing to know. Self-completing forms… *dreamy eyes*


  10. markbialczak says:

    Good gravy, Jenny. I’m so glad my daughter is 25 and I can’t even remember the initial steps back then. I guess you should be impressed at their commitment to education, but really, there’s thinking, there’s over-thinking and then there’s OCD. Yeah, they’ve ventured there already, pre-K.

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. Emma says:

    I’d suggest home-schooling 🙂 Might be easier than this.


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