My smart and confident 5-year-old is set to start kindergarten and we are in a quandary about where to send her. The public schools where we live are overcrowded and not well regarded. My husband and I are both professionals, but we can’t shell out the dough for most private schools’ tuition around here. Except for one. It’s an outstanding private school (K–8) with good, caring teachers and that meets our budget. The problem is that it is a religious-based school (Presbyterian) and we are atheists. We sent her there for her first year of preschool and she loved it, but my husband and I felt it was too “churchy” and insular. At 3 years old she was talking about God’s love, Jesus, and how when you die, you turn to dust, and we felt it was too much, too soon. Is it wrong to “use” the religious school (we don’t have the same beliefs after all) solely for our kids’ educational purposes? If we do send her (and her younger sibling in a few years) how do we reconcile the messages she will receive at school and the lack of faith at home? I also don’t want her going into school saying “the wrong thing” she heard at home. Some friends have told us not to worry because “it’s just kindergarten,” but we want to make sure she gets off on the right foot. Please help!
—We Don’t Believe