Schools for Children in Vienna and America

On my blog, I find it difficult to talk about education. The thing is, it’s what I do for a living. My career focuses on trying to improve education – namely, public education – so I feel like it’s a vast and deep issue for me to sum up into a short blog post.

But here we are, talking about education.

The ideas for this post have been a-brewing since I contributed to materials for this really cool meeting on education innovation hosted by the Aspen Institute, an international think tank in DC that focuses on all sorts of policy topics, including education. Aspen hosted a few hundred education innovators and funders to talk not just about why we need to innovate in the U.S. education system (because everyone knows that these days), but how to do so. My favorite speaker was fashion designer and global brand leader Marc Ecko, who said of the urgency for a public awareness about education change, “We need a ‘buckle up for safety’ moment. A ‘Smokey the Bear’ moment. We need to be having a food fight.” Right on! I leave these kinds of meetings scared but energized, overwhelmed but hopeful.

I also just read an article in Fast Company magazine, How to Spend $100 Million to Really Save Education, that eloquently and seamlessly summarizes all the ideas kicking around in my mind about how to fix the behemoth education system that is leaving our students unprepared for global competition in the workforce, and our students and families unfulfilled as sentient beings. (For more reading, see how former DC schools chancellor and fire-starter Michelle Rhee wants to use $1 Billion to save education.)

Now I am a mom who is starting to think about where my daughter will go to school. I am scared but energized, overwhelmed but hopeful. I know too much about the system, and it may mean that I’ll just have to home school Bug forever. Not the worst idea I’ve had.

But there is some hope, it seems. We visited an amazing preschool that exists largely outdoors, encouraging children to learn among nature – simultaneously building their individual confidence and knowledge of the environment.

So far we’ve also visited Appletree II Private School and Parkwood School. For a list of preschools around town, check out Pre-K Smarties, though I don’t think it is an exhaustive list (i.e., F.B Meekins Cooperative Preschool isn’t on there, which sounds cool because the parents contribute to the operation of the school). At this point, I don’t know that I can offer the exhaustive list of preschools in Vienna, but this is a start. Stay tuned for more info to come.

Bug is not yet a year old – we’re getting to this a bit early, I think. But hey, education is my life. It will be Bug’s too!


3 thoughts on “Schools for Children in Vienna and America

  1. I love your blog….it’s so fun to read! I wanted to let you know that the Vienna Moms site has a document with most of the preschools in Vienna. I think it is a bit outdated though. I have a 2 1/2 year old at Wesley Prechool. I started to compile a list of preschools in Vienna and some basic info on each one last year so I could figure out where we wanted to send her. Please let me know if you would like this list and I’d be happy to email it to you. Good luck with your search for a school!



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