While the rest of our students and teachers started school yesterday, I started today, with early identification interviews. This includes a tour of the classroom. Their little faces look amazed at the sinks and toilets and chairs and tables that are just their size! A sand box? INSIDE? Drums, playdough, paint, puzzles, big blocks, little clipboards, a puppet theatre? All for ME?
The interview involves hard stuff, like drawing a self-portrait, finding their name, counting as high as they can (eleventeen is a favourite number amongst the Pre-K set), and saying words for me so I can assess their speech and articulation development. We ended the interview with a prayer for their success. I sent the parents home with a sweet and heart-wrenching poem about how hard it is to drop off their child, but assuring them that I'll cherish and respect their children.
I loved meeting my new charges today! After a few more days of interviews, half the class will come at a time so that I can introduce them to school rhythms, routines, and expectations. Then they'll all come together to begin our academic year of PLAY-BASED LEARNING!
Jude will be in my class this year. Last year I was home on maternity leave so I thought I'd homeschool him (he was only 4 anyway). By late October, he and Violet were in a phase of fighting from morning till night, and I thought maybe he needed some time away! I remained neutral, as I wanted to hear his opinion on the matter. "Do you think you might like to go to school?", I asked. "YES!" was his unequivocal reply. I made the arrangements, and soon it was time to see him off.
All geared up: new (HUGE) backpack and (HUGE) lunchbag!
Eagerly awaiting the school bus...
Don't forget to look back and wave goodbye!
This was a hard decision, as most of my close friends homeschool. I'd done my research and liked what I was learning about the benefits of homeschooling. However, I was in a bit of a quandary: I work in a school as a teacher. I know all the really wonderful benefits of school, too. And I can't afford to not teach. I also admit that I'd teach even if I could afford not to...I was born to be a teacher. I love my job. And I am more patient with my kids when I'm working, because I don't take my time with them for granted. Still, it was with teary eyes and a conflicted heart that I sent my firstborn off to school.
I remembered how I felt that day, as I reassured the many weepy parents I met today...I've been there. All you really want is for your child's teacher to SEE them, to treasure their quirks and to keep their little spirits intact so that they leave your room with a smile.
Being entrusted with the spirits of other people's children is a responsibility I take very seriously. We spend a year playing, learning, growing, sharing, and praying together. I pray that this year is a wonderful one for all children out there...homeschooled, unschooled, or just schooled in the traditional-school kind of way!
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