I don't think these photos need much explaining... but I'll explain anyways:) Miss Poppy was VERY excited about going to 'kool', as she pronounces it. All summer long we would walk or drive past the building, and she would excitedly call out 'that's my new KOOL!' When her first day arrived, she was very excited right up until it was time to say good-bye. While Soren's kindergarten did a multi-stepped staggered entry, Poppy had a full day on her first day. She'd never met the teachers before, and had only seen the classroom once before, late last winter.
In Montessori (or at least this one) the teachers encourage quick drop-offs, with the parent setting the tone by being confident about the good-bye. Kids pick up on nervousness very easily, so if they feel like the parent is confident about where they are going (not a crying mess) it will make their transition easier. I helped Poppy wash her hands and we talked with a teacher, and then I said good-bye. I was perhaps not as confident as I could have been... as we walked away and I heard her crying, I tried to turn around but was stopped by Tyler who re-assured me that she would be fine. Once I got to work I couldn't resist calling the school to see how she was - it was her first day after all, and she's only two! Luckily things were going well, and when we picked her up at the end of the day she was very happy.
Most mornings there are still a few tears, but they are pretty short-lived. She talks happily about school and we catch her singing songs she's already picked up. This week we had a parents night at the school, and we were so blown away by how much the staff love the children. You get the feeling that the teachers are all working because they truly love it - it's definitely not about the paycheque. After experiencing a few less than ideal childcare situations - for a variety of reasons - it's a great feeling to know that we made the right decision with Poppy's schooling this year. I really think she is going to thrive in her new environment, and three days per week seems like the perfect amount of time to be in school.
My advice to other parents is always to trust your instincts... there are options, and you know best. If something doesn't feel right there is probably a reason for it, and try to find something better suited. Now if only we could ease Soren's separation anxiety... I want to thank all the people who sent emails or texts with thoughtful suggestions to help us ease our kindergarten woes. I think (fingers crossed) that we moving forward... but I don't want to "speak" too soon. A follow up will come in due time:)
These photos make me a little sad... Soren looks SO HAPPY in all of them, and unfortunately he's a really sad little guy these days. We are officially one week into school, and Soren 'hates' kindergarten. After an enthusiastic first day, things have gone downhill quickly. There are no major issues, as far as we can tell, but he just doesn't want to go.
He vocalizes his feelings well, so apparently he will tell his teacher, while crying - 'I am trying to think of happy thoughts, but the sad feelings just keep coming back'. :( It's terrible to hear, and hard to be around him as he struggles to identify what it is that is bothering him so much. The phrase we keep hearing again and again is that he just wants to be with us, his family, and he doesn't want to be apart. We're a little perplexed, as he was totally fine with nursery school last year, and it's the same basic schedule. He says last year he was excited - while this year he worries about grade 1, grade 2, etc. and getting older. This morning he told me he wishes he could just go back to being little.
I have been at the school a couple times this week for drop-offs and pick-ups, and his teacher seems to totally understand his sadness, and thinks he'll just take a couple of weeks to adjust. We are very much hoping the same thing! It is absolutely horrible to sit down to dinner and watch your five year old burst into tears, eat a few bites of food, and burst into tears again.
One thing that is absolutely adorable are the reunions between Soren and Poppy at end of the day. They run to each other with open arms, literally bowling each other over.
And to end things on a positive note, this hike on the Sunshine Coast was absolutely gorgeous. It was actually quite rainy, but the tall trees provided a natural canopy that kept us relatively dry. The hike was at Chapman's Creek, which was just around the corner from where we were staying. The terrain kept us on our toes - lots of ups and downs - but manageable for a two and five year old. We didn't expect to hike nearly as long as we did, but both kids absolutely loved it and wanted to keep going. Poppy barely needed to be carried, except for a couple of brief breaks. I've written before about hiking with kids, and I certainly expect it's something we'll continue to do more of as the kids get older.
Last month my parents invited us to go to Assiniboia Downs to watch horse races with them. It's a bit of an odd place... even the website address is "asdowns" which strikes me as funny. The track was built in 1958, and it has a fun retro feel to it. The kids were excited to see horses (Soren from afar) and they caught on to the betting aspect quickly. Tyler's the lucky one in our family... he won $50 off the first race!
There were more people than appear in the photos, and it was a beautiful summer night. Our only disappointment was the dining situation. My parents had invited my grandparents, sister and niece as well, and we hoped to eat dinner together in the dining room overlooking the track. Unfortunately, when we arrived with three kids in tow, we were told that kids were not allowed in the dining room as it was adjacent to VLT's. We were relegated to a table in a sad-looking hallway - a spot lacking views and ambiance.
After dinner Poppy enjoyed seeing the horses up close - one of them was sooo friendly and loved to be petted. And for a non-gambler, horse racing is surprisingly fun! I bet $2 on a horse based solely on the name - and won a whopping $7! I was thrilled. After a few races it was time to get home for the kids bedtimes, but we walked away having made more money than our food cost, so it was a win in my books.