Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The First Day of School

Well, it is finally here! Fall, my favorite time of the year. Football kicks off, the leaves change color, the air gets a slight chill, and the kids go off to school! What's not to love??? On Thursday, the girls had their first day at their new school. I drove them in and got them settled. I was pleased to be greeted by the headmaster, who escorted us to Anastasia's classroom. It is a nice space, very bright and cheery, and her teacher seems very nice. Anastasia was only the second student to arrive, and she was clearly scared, so I tried to show her around and make her comfortable before leaving. She has two turtles and several finches in the classroom, and lots of great toys. Collier was having a great time and didn't want to go! A couple more kids arrived, including some familiar faces from the Embassy crowd. She let us leave, but still looked very nervous.

Next, we were escorted to Alina's class. She is in a combined classroom with the 4th graders. There are a total of 12 kids in both 3rd and 4th grade, and the teacher seems very competent about how to handle the differences between the two. Fortunately, they have alternating "specials" (music, PE, art), and are separated for Math and English. I was initially concerned about Alina being exposed to 4th grade math material and the effect it would have on her confidence, so I am relieved to hear this. Alina, settled right in and waved goodbye. I didn't worry about her at all, she is so social!

Arianna's classroom is in the other building, where the upper school is held. She is also in a combined class with the 7th grade. I am actually very happy to learn this, as I am confident that the extra challenges will be very beneficial for her. She is advanced for her grade and needs the extra push or she gets bored quickly. I think this will be a great year for her. She has 3 different teachers, one for English, one for math, and one for social science/homeroom. The group is very small, only 10 in both grades. She loves it and has already made friends. I was pleased to meet the Math/Music teacher, who informed me that Arianna will be able to continue with her clarinet lessons and will also learn to play another instrument. The school has a fantastic music program.

Once the kids were settled in, I stuck around to chat with some familiar faces and to introduce myself to some new ones. I met some of the other parents from Arianna and Alina's classes, and they have already offered playdates! About 12 or 14 of us went to the tennis club next door to have coffee and chat. It was a very pleasant morning.

When I picked the girls up later that afternoon, it was a bit more chaotic than in the morning. Obviously, the first few days of school are a little stressful for the administration, and there are still kinks to work out with the dismissal procedure, but I trust it will run smoother next week. On the way home, I listened as the girls shared their enthusiasm about their teachers and their new friends. I think it's going to be a great year!

Christopher started school the following day, with only a half session. He also had a very good morning and seems excited about his courses. He was issued all of his books, and spent most of the afternoon thumbing through them. His only concern is that his math class may be too simple for him!

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