One thing is certainly true about B’s new school — they keep us parents pretty busy! School started less than 2 weeks ago and so far we’ve had orientation (with the kids), the first day of school, a curriculum meeting, a PTA coffee and then, last night, a parent orientation meeting (which was more or less at “back to school night” . . . except that I think they’re doing another “back to school night” type of event later in the month, too). I made a comment to another mom at the PTA coffee on Tuesday that they keep us parents very busy at the beginning of the year, and she responded that it’s actually going to be like this all year. Whew.
But, I don’t mind. I’m happy and excited to be involved, and to start to feel like I’m able understand a bit of what school is like for B. (Much as I like the boys’ preschool, both the language barrier and the fact that they are the complete opposite when it comes to involving parents have made it hard to feel really connected to what goes on there each day.)
Last night was great. We met in the classroom with B’s teacher and the parents of his classmates. We got a chance to learn about their daily schedule, about the school’s and the teacher’s philosophies, and about how things have been going so far (very well, apparently). We also got to meet and chat with some of the other parents — it’s very nice to start to get to know the parents of the kids B has started to make friends with.
Basically, we love it. We love the school, and we love B’s teacher. I love the way the kids are expected to be at different levels, and the way the teacher plans to work with each of them to improve their skills from their current point. I love the way the day is structured, with focused learning mixed in with group work, circle time and play time. I love his teacher’s positive approach to behavior and discipline. And I love, love, LOVE the enthusiasm she has for teaching the kids — even just a few days into the year, she seems to be so genuinely fond of all the kids in the class. I couldn’t have asked for a better place for B to start his “real” school career, and I couldn’t imagine an environment I’d be more comfortable with. I feel like all of my concerns and worries about B being ready for 1st grade have pretty much been shown to be unfounded — not just because he’s doing so well already, but because the school and his class really are set up in such a beneficial manner. I am just so happy.
And then there’s the other stuff we learned. It turns out that not only is B the only American kid in his class (though two of the other kids have lived in the US for a while), but he’s the only native English speaker in his class. The school has over 100 nationalities represented, and something like 70+ native languages (I’d struggle to even NAME 70 languages). Watching a slide show the teacher had prepared before the meeting got started, I felt like every single picture looked like a Benetton ad, or at least like the obligatory picture all school brochures include to show how diverse the population is. It wasn’t until a picture of B popped up in the slide show that we realized that ALL of the pictures we were looking at had been taken in B’s class during these first 10 days of school — that’s just what his class looks like.
I was also thrilled to find out that I’m able to come in and volunteer in B’s class. I’m going to be coming in once a week to help out. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to be doing, but I’m so excited to get to help and participate. In my imaginings of my kids’ school days, I’d always pictured myself helping out in the classroom, and I was disappointed when I wasn’t able to be more involved in their preschool. So to get that chance now is just beyond exciting for me.
I’m completely won over. This school seems like just the right place for him, and I am so excited for him to have this opportunity. If I sound like I’m bragging, I don’t mean to be. I’m just excited, and so very grateful to see how things are unfolding. I feel like this is the best school we could have chosen for him, and I think he might have gotten the good fortune of ending up with the best teacher possible for him, too.