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Pre-schools in Greenwich, Connecticut

(7 Posts)
Fancsi Mon 15-Jun-15 17:20:28

We are moving from London to Greenwich, Connecticut in the US and trying to find a good pre-school for out 4-year old son. He is in Pippa Poppins in SW6 at the moment, very smart, already on stage-3 reading books so very important to find a good, strong nursery that will challenge him. Does anyone have any recommendations? Most pre-school places that are connected to schools have already been taken as we only found out about our move recently and places are allocated earlier in the year. sad We are looking at possibly Christ Church or First Presbitarian pre-schools in Greenwich but cannot tell which one would be better. Any views / recommendations would be very much appreciated.

mathanxiety Sat 27-Jun-15 05:18:35

I was just browsing through and saw this post.

I don't know anything at all about Greenwich CT, but have experience of preschools in the US. You are very unlikely to find any preschool that will challenge a child in a formal academic sense anywhere in the US. You could try Montessori, but this tends to be an expensive option and there are often waiting lists as Montessori preschools tend to offer 7am to 6pm days.

The focus in preschool in both private and public schools (where provided) is on 'soft skills' (classroom etiquette, being responsible for materials, getting along with peers and teachers, and self care). Self care is really stressed, in my experience. That means learning to tie your own shoes, hang up your own coat, being able to take off and put on your own winter jacket and snow bib and hat and mittens, boots, etc.

It is a different focus from that of the UK, where children are sort of hothoused academically but mum or dad can come into the school to help children into and out of coats, walk them to classrooms, etc. American children tend to be introduced to phonics in kindergarten (age 5) and then learn to read properly in first grade (age 6). Many are already reading of course. The first grade effort is often a mopping up exercise on the part of the teacher just to make sure stragglers can read.

American children do not do graded reading schemes either.

Don't be dismayed at what you find. There is much wisdom in the approach.

strawberryrhubarb Mon 06-Jul-15 18:58:18

We have been in NYC for the past year after a move from London. My children are now 5 and 2.
We are relocating to Greenwich in the next few weeks, as NYC was too urban for us with such young children) My eldest will be going to our local primary (excellent schools in CT) after a year of private pre-K in the city. Our 2 year old is going to Putnam Indian Field School in Greenwich which came highly recommended and we fell in love with when we visited. I have heard good things about First Presbyterian as well, not sure about Christ Church, but simply haven't heard about it.
I agree with Mathanxiety, after living in SW London where our daughter attended the nursery program at a local private school, the "nursery" programs here are very different. There is less formal structure, lots of freedom and play based learning. This year our daughter went to a very coveted pre-K (age 4) programme (as close to a private feeder as exists here) and was definitely not taught to read, even though she was ready. The emphasis is just very different here, but she has thrived in many other ways, including her gaining confidence and social skills, which has been wonderful.
Please PM me if you like, I may be able to help you with some of the recommendations (pediatricians, dentists etc.) that I have been given from friends and friends of friends in Greenwich.

MrsC09 Sun 18-Sep-16 13:46:04

Old thread, I know, but I was hoping you could let me know how you are getting on in Greenwich. We currently live in SW London and my husband is looking into a work transfer as we are keen on a change of scenery! I wouldn't want to live in NYC though as I'm craving a bit more space and greenery for the children. That said I think we would struggle to adapt to anything too countryfied either! We were recommended to look into Greenwich as a happy medium.

Would you be able to offer some advice on which areas of Greenwich are good to live in? I would love to find an area that offers walking distance to schools/shops/parks etc and an added bonus would be to be close to the sea! Oh and I guess it would also need to have easy access to the train for my husband to get to work in NYC. I've heard it can be a bit "stepford wives" this the case in all areas? I'm not keen on anything over posh although we do currently live in a fairly well off part of London.

Which state schools are good? I have a 6 year old and 4 year old currently in year 2 & reception. How big are the classes there? Do they have good extracurricular activities of the children? How big would the educational gap be for my child in year 2? Would he go into grade 1 there or do they tend to bump them up? (he's a summer child so not necessarily high in the rankings !)

How have you found settling in? Is there a foreign community? I used to live on the NorthEast Coast so I wouldn't be completely out of my depth but it feels like a long time ago!

Sorry for so many questions! Would greatly appreciate any advice.

stopgap Wed 21-Sep-16 12:49:54

The better public schools in Fairfield County are actually a little farther north--Weston is great, for example, as is Wilton. Darien is also excellent.

The area can be quite Stepford Wives (speaking now for most areas within FFC) but the farther north you go, the more laid back the vibe. Greenwich is wealthy (it's a Mecca for hedge funds, after all) but it has a significant Hispanic population on the outskirts, and not every house for sale is $$$. Look for an in-town location on and avoid mid- and back country if you're looking for walkable and not semi-rural.

highlystrung Wed 21-Sep-16 22:58:13

Hi all. Just wanted to join! We are moving to Greenwich in Jan too as Dhs job is moving to New York. We are going out on a scouting trip in a few weeks. We have been recommended Old Greenwich as a family friendly area, close to beach, where neighbours talk to each other etc. Hopefully not Stepford Wivesish! We have 3dc, 11, 9 and 6. As we think we will be coming back to the UK in 2 - 2.5 yrs we are looking to put our three in Whitby school. It's private but does the IB instead of US curriculum which I'm hoping will make the transfer back to the Uk easier - especially for my dd11 who will be just about to start her GCSE courses when we get back. Whitby seems quite international and the nice thing for us us that they can all go to the same school.
It's nice to hear from others in the same boat.

strawberryrhubarb Mon 28-Nov-16 18:13:47

I haven't checked in here for over a year, but was looking for some other information and saw the "newish" comments on this thread. I'll give you a quick update so that it might help the two of you who are moving in January if you still need the info.

Where to live: This is not too "country" at all. It is really just the suburbs of NYC. Comparable to Surrey IMO.
If you want a little bit of walkability, I think Old Greenwich/Riverside are the best areas to be in. There are a lot of expats here. Mostly British/Irish/Australian and South American (Argentinian/Brazilian). There is a small parade of shops in OG and the beach is very close (bike-able if not walk-able). There are several local pre-schools that are good (registration has just passed, but places may still be possible). Old Greenwich school and Riverside school are both good. More walkers at OG and more car drops at Riverside, but both communities are sociable. The school debate goes round and round (as in London), and there probably are better schools a bit further North (Darien/Westport etc.). But the commute is further and really, I'm not sure it makes that significant of a difference.
One word of caution-rent is very very expensive here if you want somewhere nice. And you will need a car. Possibly two cars depending on proximity to the station.
Highlystrung-the only issue that you might find with living in this area is that it's a hike to Whitby, especially in the winter. I've heard that people really like the school, but they all complain about the driving (someone as recently as Saturday at the playground...) There are some nice parts of Greenwich closer to the hospital and private schools in town that might be closer for you. Anything off Lake Avenue or North Street would be an easier drive to Whitby. Also, your kids will have friend all over the place and you will have to drive them everywhere...just a consideration.

It can be Stepford Wife territory here, the stereotype exists for a reason unfortunately. There are also lots of nice families. Just be prepared to have to work a bit to make friends. There is a newcomers club that we didn't join but other friends have joined and enjoyed it.

There are a million activities for children. Anything your child wants to do will be available. It is fantastic from that perspective. The facilities and programs for both boys and girls are top notch. These are lucky and privileged children.

A child who is 6 years old (summer birthday born in 2010) will be in first grade in the 2016-2017 school year. They do allow kids born from Sept-Dec to be held back, so there may be children who have turned 7 already in your child's class. They won't hold a summer baby back here as the intake generally runs from January-December. And holding back Sept-Dec children is entirely at the parents discretion. It's a bit mad really as my daughters class has both 7 year olds and 5 year olds in it.

I would say that it takes a year to settle. This is just my personal opinion, but it seems to be what has happened for us. Best of luck!

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