Switching from private kindergarten to public grade school

Hi all. Our family feels really strongly about sending our two kids to public school and have heard great things about the schools in our area (El Cerrito). In the context of COVID and also the fact that both parents work full-time, we are considering applying to and sending our daughter to a private kindergarten for fall 2021. It seems that private schools have more ability to have the kids at school and a more robust system in place for learning from home. 

Has anyone sent their kiddo to private school for the first year (or few years of schooling) and then transitioned them to public school? I'm worried we will become engrained into the community, our kiddo will make friends, or maybe even the comparison of private to public school academics, would make us stay. That wouldn't be the worst thing in the world but I do think there are plenty of things a public school offers that private cannot (namely diversity, going to school with kids specifically from our neighborhood, etc). 

Has anyone made this transition? Or started in private with the intention to go public but stayed? Thanks!

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I think what's more common, and what we have just done ourselves, is public for the early years and private for upper grades/middle school, then a toss-up for high school. Many people feel like they don't want to pay $25K+ for "ABCs" and choose private later when academics become more serious. We are also in El Cerrito and - to make a long story short - have observed that for anyone who's not a natural extrovert, it is difficult to make friends in a new school, whatever grade level. It is eased when you're at a natural entry point, such as K or 5th/6th grade (when middle school starts, depending on the school). I personally wouldn't plan to start private and then switch at some point, for all the reasons you describe. Our midpoint switch was also eased by our introverted child being old enough to maintain neighborhood friendships on their own without parents coordinating everything. Nobody knows what fall 2021 will look like but there are private (or city run) childcare options to provide coverage that corresponds to the public schools. You are 100% right though, our private school is about 10% of the diversity of our public school. If that!

Throwing out another option... There are preschools who offer a Kindergarten curriculum (Keystone Montessori in El Cerrito) so if for sure in-person school is the main draw, you could go that route.  My understanding is Kindergarten is technically optional as is.  We are currently at Keystone and very happy there and if things continue, we'd definitely keep our child at Keystone for in-person Kindergarten learning and then transfer to public school (for ideally 1st grade).

My older kid went to private school for K through 2nd grade and then we switched to our local public school in El Cerrito for 3rd grade. For many reasons, it was a really good decision and the switch for both my kid and our family was easy. I do feel I missed out a little on making the kind of connections with other parents you often make in kindergarten, but I imagine changing schools earlier would make things easier. And then I made a bunch of new connections when my younger kid entered K. There is a lot of switching in those first few years, and changing schools after K or 1st grade seems really common to me. I actually wish we'd started with our public school in K, but there wasn't a pandemic then. Best of luck.