Moving with small c...
 

Moving with small children  

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seaturtle76
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November 17, 2011 4:10 pm  

My husband and I lived in St. T in 2001-2003 when I worked at the hospital as a traveler. We currently live in Indianapolis and have a one and four year old sons. We have always kept it at the back of our minds the possibility of moving back to St. T. Obviously it wouldnt be the free wheeling lifestyle we had before since now we have kids but we still hope to make it happen one day. What I am wondering about is other peoples experience of living on the island with young kids? When we lived there the first time we didnt pay much attention to what kids activities were available. Obviously we have way more kid options here with the zoo, museums and libraries. What sort of things do you do with your kids? Are there any play groups we might get into? Oh and if any parents read this and their kids attend the Montessori school I would love to hear about that!


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seaturtle76
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November 18, 2011 2:56 pm  

Really? Nobody had any ideas?


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fdr
 fdr
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November 18, 2011 3:00 pm  

Good morning seaturtle,

I think the topic has been discussed frequently in the past. Search the archives and make sure your search range is set to "all" (it defaults to "last 30 days").

Good luck to you!


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VIsnorkeler
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November 18, 2011 3:01 pm  

I don't have kids. I do know that this subject has been discussed ad nauseum on this forum and within the last few months as well. Check older posts.


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seaturtle76
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November 18, 2011 3:03 pm  

Ah thank you for the advice. I assumed somebody must have asked this in the past but couldnt find it on here.


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Ms Information
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November 18, 2011 5:24 pm  

My husband and I lived in St. T in 2001-2003 when I worked at the hospital as a traveler. We currently live in Indianapolis and have a one and four year old sons. We have always kept it at the back of our minds the possibility of moving back to St. T. Obviously it wouldnt be the free wheeling lifestyle we had before since now we have kids but we still hope to make it happen one day. What I am wondering about is other peoples experience of living on the island with young kids? When we lived there the first time we didnt pay much attention to what kids activities were available. Obviously we have way more kid options here with the zoo, museums and libraries. What sort of things do you do with your kids? Are there any play groups we might get into? Oh and if any parents read this and their kids attend the Montessori school I would love to hear about that!

When searching be sure to put in all dates to get more information. I hope this helps.

https://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/search.php?4,search=childrens+kids+to+do,author=,page=1,match_type=ANY,match_dates=0,match_forum=4,match_threads=0


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Hiya!
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November 19, 2011 5:48 am  

Search the word school.


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onthespot
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November 19, 2011 5:58 pm  

You will never change the island to fit your needs. Your children will bend and flex to fit what is available to them.


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seaturtle76
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November 19, 2011 9:12 pm  

Im sure they will. They are young and adaptable. I was just wondering what sort of activities other parents do with their kids. We arent a stay at home and watch tv kind of family.


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noOne
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November 19, 2011 9:32 pm  

Get a boat and use it.


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seaturtle76
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November 19, 2011 11:08 pm  

We had a boat the first time we lived there so we know that is a must for sure. Thats something i know our kids love!


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East Ender
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November 19, 2011 11:21 pm  

I don't have children at http://www.vimsia.org/, but have several friends who do. I am a big proponent of Maria Montessori's ideals and think that children brought up through the system are self-starters, self-disciplined and in general good guys. There is a whole Montessori culture with activities for parents and children. The annual fundraiser, Las Vegas Night, is coming up Saturday, December 3rd. (shameless advertisement for my good friends!!) and is one of the big local social activities as well as the start of the Christmas season.

BTW, it is not unusual for hospital travelers to return. Once you get the VI in your blood, you are ours! :@)


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seaturtle76
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November 20, 2011 1:38 pm  

The island definetly got in our blood the two years we were there. We have talked about going back ever since we left and are just now getting into a position where it is actually possible. My four year attends a montessori preschool that we absolutely love and it is important to us that he continue in that type of school. Glad to hear there is a montessori community there. Neither of our families live near us so we are used to looking outside of family for social life. Which is actually one of the reasons we are looking to move back to the islands. Felt a lot more of a sense of community there than we ever have here.


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East Ender
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November 20, 2011 3:20 pm  

The president of the PTA at VIMSIA (they want to be called that because the school goes beyond typical Montessori ages and includes the International Academy) was a traveler and has now returned with spouse and children, so you would be in good company. Will you be looking at http://www.srmedicalcenter.org/ for work?


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seaturtle76
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November 23, 2011 1:46 am  

How funny that the PTA president was also a traveler! I checked out the schools website and have been very impressed with the school. Sounds amazing and so much better than many of the schools in our area. I would definetly be looking for work at the Roy Lester Schneider and dont think I would have much trouble getting hired. We just arent sure if this is the right thing to do for the kids or not yet. Although my four year old makes the decision a little easier everyday when he asks me where the sunshine went!


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East Ender
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November 23, 2011 2:46 am  

You might want to consider a longish visit with the children to see Montessori (and maybe some of the other schools) and talk to parents. While you have a better idea than most, having lived and worked here, the children do change the equation. All the best. I hope you come back.;)


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InTheHills
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November 27, 2011 3:44 am  

My oldest attended Montessori in St Thomas. It was wonderfull! There truly is a community there filled with amazing people who gather to do things (typically beach parties or "mommy coffee breaks in the morning"). Unfortunately it is a long drive from where I live and work, which is in the center of the island, not too far from the hospital. From the hospital it is about a 40 min drive to Montessori with traffic. Of course, it gets worse during morning and afternoon rush hours. It also became costs prohibitive for me. I have two other kids (2 & 1) that had to be enrolled in pre-school. Montessori runs about $10,500 to $13,500 per year depending on the child's age and which programs he is enrolled in. On the academic side, I believe the Montessori program is lacking a bit for ages 5 and up.

School activities are not year-round, so the problem I've experienced the most is finding activities for my kids other than the beach. There are no "real" public parks or playgrounds and for the few there are, Maintenance has been defferred too long so bridges, slides and turf remains broken and dangerous. There are no museums other than small historic houses.

Groceries are a whole other problem! I cannot find everything in one place and the various stores on St. Thomas appear to tripple the price of baby food and other children necessities. Each week I spend about $300 on groceries and household needs (cleaning supplies, tissues) at a minimum. Lately it's been more as my youngest turns 1. Gas and car maintenance is something else to consider. In St Thomas, a gallon of low grade gas costs 4.10.

Just in case you were wonderimg, the public schools are way below average on all three islands. Not because of the teachers who, for the most part are qualified and caring. They work for less than half of what they would get in the states. It's the government that has not prioritized education. The schools lack basic supplies like books and paper as well as working copiers, fax machines, computers, printers, etc. Maintenance is nearly non-existent for both the physical structure and the equipment/technology. It takes weeks for them to defficiently repair something. Now, of course there are some public schools that are better than others but even the best is below the national average.

There really is no sports program either. The private and parochial schools had to combine there fledging programs to create one team "the Arawaks" to play against the public schools, but the fields for the public schools need repair that the Government has failed to provide. So no one plays.

Other concerns are the crime rate, utility bills, lack of service, which I think are covered in other posts. As someone else said, this is a great place for singles and couples, but not for families.


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East Ender
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November 27, 2011 5:07 pm  

I am not sure that football is the only sport around. 😉 The VI has a large group of world-class sailors, Olympic windsurfers, golfers, etc. While I would have to agree that having a family here may require more effort than in the states, I disagree that it is not a place for families.

I am not sure why you think the academics at Montessori isn't as good for the over 5s. They may not have some of the fancy buildings that Antilles does, but the kids are being well-educated, IMHO.


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Exit Zero
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November 27, 2011 6:49 pm  

Softball, Volleyball, Soccer and Track are also very popular with the youth of the VI - and competitive between all the schools - Cheerleading, Dance, Music, Art, Gymnastics, Rotc, Scuba are all available too! ---- STT Antilles, Montessori, All Saints, STs Peter and Paul all have after school activities and CAHS and IEKHS send plenty of scholars off to college on both athletic and academic scholarships.
I have raised a family here and so have many of us in the VI community - it is different than a stateside environment but we always felt that was an advantage not a shortcoming - the VI certainly isn't always a great fit for everyone but families can thrive here and the " singles and couples " statement is a very narrow viewpoint of a very culturally diverse society here.


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poorthang
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November 28, 2011 1:09 pm  

If you don't have kids how do you know what it's like ???? just askin....*-)*-)*-)


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VIsnorkeler
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November 28, 2011 2:29 pm  

If you don't have kids how do you know what it's like ???? just askin....*-)*-)*-)

Since I was the only one who responded declaring that I didn't have children, I assumed you were referring to me. The only opinion I expressed was that the topic had been discussed A LOT on this forum.


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InTheHills
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November 28, 2011 7:12 pm  

I agree that the VI has world-class sailors, Olympic windsurfers, and golfers. I do not agree that it’s a large number. It’s also only available for older children (ages 10 and up?). In addition, these programs are fairly exclusive and hard to get into in terms of costs as well as its location (they are primarily focused on the east end near the Anchorage and Red Hook). This also only adds to the expense of the "basic" education. Quite frankly, my family is all tapped out and cannot afford these programs.

There are several issues regarding the Softball, Volleyball, Soccer and Track programs. First, they are for older children again (10 and up). Second, you have to be part of a certain group to get in. For example, some programs are affiliated with certain public housing communities. You have to be a resident of the public housing to participate. Other programs are for "disadvantaged" children, of which you'd be priced out if you can afford (or send) your child to private school. Still other programs are for children of a certain public school. While I do not dispute that CAHS and IEKHS (the two public high schools in St. Thomas into which all other elementary public schools feed) do produce some great kids who receive athletic and academic scholarships, they are the exception rather than the rule. There is a letter from the Governor himself in today's Daily News and in the online paper where he acknowledges that all of the public schools are performing below the national average. The high schools are also not preparing children for college level work: "approximately 82 percent of freshman required skills classes to transition to college-level work." http://stthomassource.com/content/commentary/op-ed/2011/11/27/governors-call-action

As to the other after school activities, I know for a fact that Sts. Peter and Paul has none. My wife drives my 5 year old to Montessori for an art class on Wednesdays, which is an added expense. I believe most if not all of the activities identified above are offered at Montessori, which does have afterschool activities, but they are not included in the $13,000 tuition. They can costs hundreds extra depending on what you select. I cannot speak for Antilles. There are no competitive Cheerleading, Dance, Music, Art, Gymnastics, ROTC, or Scuba among the schools. If they are, please tell me where.

The simple fact is there is little to nothing here for elementary age children; and very little for teenagers unless you enrolled them in public school, which has inadequate education; or pay an arm and a leg for "extras" at the private school. Many, if not all of these activities are part of many public education programs in many states.

The kids at Montessori are pretty well educated but once your child hit the 5th grade equivalent, there are some transition issues due to teacher turn over and inadequate preparation. Or so I heard. So I may be wrong on this. My reason for pulling my 5 year old out was due to the expense and the remote location of the school. In addition, you would have to stick to the Montessori method throughout the child's education as the transition to a traditional school setting is difficult at older ages. (This is based on what my wife told me, who did go through the Montessori program and had difficulty adjusting to traditional high school.)


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poorthang
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November 28, 2011 10:36 pm  

Visnorkler...you were not the only one w/o kids posting....I believe it's hard to paint the picture for someone(and referring them to look at other posts was proper btw)if you don't have real life experience in dealing with the issue.If you have never had kids and dealt with ALL the issues that come with them ....then .you can't play momma on the net.All of the advice given is just hearsay at that point...*-)


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Exit Zero
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November 29, 2011 12:40 am  

INthe Hills-- I specifically put the Cheerleader, Dance, etc. After the competitive statement - they are just activities available - neither are the skimboarding, martial arts, computer gaming, bowling etc. competitive all of which are here on STT - And as I clearly post - the VI is not always the best fit for everyone - your situation shows that it hasn't met your expectations - but plenty of us have raised our families here under a wide spectrum of economic circumstances. I would do it again too.


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Exit Zero
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November 29, 2011 1:59 am  

Admittedly I haven't dealt as a parent with 5 yr old children and younger in a long time, now I have grandchildren, but would venture to guess there was even less organized activities available here back when our family was growing up that young. I do remember lots of swim days, birthday parties, church functions, sleepovers, kite flying, board games, play dates at playgrounds that were far more rudimentary than are in existence now, dinners with other families, picnics, and lots of outdoor times hiking, rollerskating, sandcastle building, kickball and frisbee games, kayaking, snorkeling, gardening and so on.
--- As for the teenage years it seemed there was always something going on somewhere with sports, social gatherings, parties, etc that it was a constant conversation with us in the house that " there must be time for you to stay in and do your homework and just be part of this family instead of being out with your friends all the time ".
Certainly I am not doubting the veracity of your experiences - just saying there are plenty of families here that have had a different experience.
Have you tried meeting the Dorothea playground Mommy Gatherings or the Magens Bay swim group ? Obviously having 3 preschoolers makes for some complicated family management -- that is a lot of young energy around the house to co-ordinate for sure - I sincerely hope you do find a community here or in your next locale that better fits your needs as the children grow up.


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