Today wrapped up the second week of school for the kids, and we couldn't be happier with this start to the new year.
Last year, there were moments of doubt during the hard transition. There were tears, there was frustration, there was a lot of hard work.
While at the kindergarten level Derek went along with little trouble, Alex felt the changes deeply and I wondered if the end result would be worth the price.
This morning at drop-off I watched another little girl clinging to her mom in tears. I'd followed them up the stairs from the metro to the school and overheard them speaking English. I have a feeling they were experiencing their first year with a new culture and language.
It reminded me of the early weeks when Alex didn't want to let go when I hugged her goodbye at the steps to the school. Too old to cling and cry, her eyes were watery as she turned to face another day of confusion and isolation. When I turned away mine would be as well.
It's so hard to watch your child struggle, no matter if you believe it to be in their best interest. Our 6-month mantra-- We're proud of you, We love you, It will get better.
And so it is with deep thankfulness that I pick up a sparkly-eyed 8-year-old at the end of each school day, excited to tell me about everything.
We are so proud of her. We love her. And it got better!
She thinks third grade is the bee's knees because not only do they get to play the recorder in music class, but they also swim every week, and she just signed up for an extra art course twice a week. She also has an hour a week of French-- just what the poor child needs, one more language ;)
It makes this mama's heart happy to see her baby happy.
Derek, meanwhile, is probably slightly less happy than last year, because it turns out that you have to do more reading and writing in first grade. Bummer.
We also just signed him up for swimming, which he'll begin in October.
One of the things we like about their school is that extracurricular activities, like Alex's art course and swimming for Derek, are offered during the school day. That's a big bonus when the day is so long already that we couldn't possibly fit it in afterward.
Other things I appreciate:
The have all the "extras" as part of their regular schedule-- music, art, gym, computers
They get lots of recreo, or free playtime
They have a big, healthy hot lunch
The teachers make them eat it ;)
It really is the teachers that make them eat it-- they do everything with the kids, including lunch duty and even riding the bus route.
There are certainly things that are different, and a little strange to us, but overall we are pleased with the school and thrilled that Alex and Derek are speaking a second language. What an opportunity!