A Values Based Education

Five Essential Tips For Protestant Families Considering Catholic Preschools For Their Children

by Allan Martin

If you are Protestant considering sending your child to a Catholic preschool, there are several things you should consider and questions you should ask before you commit to that school. While many Protestants have incredibly favorable experiences sending their children to Catholics schools ranging from preschool to college, others decide that isn't the right choice for them. Here are some tips to guide you:

1. Ask about theological instruction

In a preschool setting, kids likely won't be studying the nuances of the Protestant Reformation or specific elements of canon law, but they will be addressing religion through a Catholic perspective. Before enrolling your child, ask to see the preschool's theological curriculum and decide if it makes you comfortable.

For example, you may feel comfortable having your child color a picture of Jesus with his mother Mary, but you may not feel comfortable with your child praying the rosary, as praying to Mary is a stark difference between Catholics and most Protestants.

2. Request a list of Bible verse to be memorized

In many religious preschools, children memorize Bible verses. Ask to see a list of the Bible verses your child may be asked to memorise. While Catholics and Protestants use the same Bible, Catholics have several books that Protestants don't recognize.

If any of the readings are from these septuagint books, you have to decide if that's within your comfort level.

3. Make sure your child won't feel out of place

Great preschools strive to make all kids feel welcome and safe. If your child is identified as a different religion than the other kids in the classroom, that could make your child feel embarrassed or out of place.

Ask about the representations of other religions—there may be more than you think. If your child is going to be one of the only non-Catholics, ask if there will be any times that your child will be asked to identify his or her different faith.

4. Prep your child

While learning about all of the above issues, prepare your child for the experience as well as possible. If there will be times, for example, when kids are asked to raise their hand if they are Catholic or not, make sure your child is comfortable with that.

Also, plan to address theological differences in your own way. For example, you may tell your child that you don't believe in praying to Mary, but you also believe that Jesus would be okay with the practice if it brings people closer to him.

5. Find out about parish discounts

If the preschool is affiliated with a Catholic parish, members of that parish typically get a discount. If you don't want to join the parish, it may be less expensive to find a Catholic preschool or another religious preschool not affiliated with a Catholic parish.

For more information, contact the administration and faculty (like those at Sammamish Montessori School) with any further questions you have.