We’ve had our share of school drama and changes. Here’s a little timeline to put things in perspective:
2 – 3.3 years old: The Era of Stability. The boys were at a fantastic Montessori (5 days a week, 9-3), close to our house, on my way to work. We loved this place. Except when we moved and all of a sudden I had an hour-and-a-half commute on my days off. Time SO NOT well spent.
3.3 – 3.6 years old: The Era of Deceit. Switched the boys to a Montessori within walking distance of our new house (5 days a week, 8:30-noon). Walked them in the BOB almost every day, past goat pastures, even in the scorching 100 degree heat. Didn’t make up for the director of the school LYING to me and deliberately deceiving me over, of all things, pizza Wednesday (I laugh now). Also didn’t make up for the roller coaster ride of separating the boys into different classrooms, reuniting them after a month (because of “low enrollment”), and then two months later, wanting to separate them again. Also didn’t make up for two of their teachers leaving in the 3 months we were there. See ya’…wouldn’t want to be ‘ya.
3.6 – 4.5 years old: The Era of Fun…and Exhausted Mom. Switched the boys to a 2-day a week, 9-1 bilingual arts and dance preschool. Can’t say enough great things about this place. It’s just like a big family speaking lots of Spanish and having lots of fun. The boys learned how to tap, tumble, do yoga and ballet. They brought home killer art projects every time. But going from every day Montessori to twice weekly preschool left me completely frazzled. When I wasn’t at my part-time job, I was taking care of the boys. Because I couldn’t get all my hours in the office, I’d work during their “nap time” and in the evenings. This past year there has been no time for me. And thank god for Jordan’s mom, Nancy, who watched the boys all day Monday so I could be in the office for a solid day. We couldn’t have made this work without her. On the plus side, I actually got two weekdays with the boys all to myself. We’ve really had a blast, especially this summer with LOTS of time at the pool, the beach, tennis lessons and play dates with friends.
So it is with so much excitement that the boys start orientation at their new Montessori school this Monday. It’s a very unique place – 16 acres of wooded land, with “rustic” classrooms interspersed around the campus. Each class has their own garden to cultivate. The kids take care of the donkey, the goat, chickens and bunnies. There are trails and mazes and even a grassy “hill” for the kids to climb and play on. They’ve modeled their outdoor curricula, if you can call it that, on Richard Louve’s “Last Child in the Woods.” I swooned a bit when I heard these words uttered from the director’s mouth! It’s all about giving the kids the freedom and space to be immersed in nature on their own terms – one of the reasons we moved out to the woods two years ago.
The boys will be in separate classes, which couldn’t be more timely. They are just ready for some space. Their classrooms are different but equally lovely. Their teachers made a fantastic impression on us all at the open house last Thursday. Oskar’s teacher is young and dynamic and full of energy and fun. Abel’s teacher is warm and engaging and has the most grounded temperament I’ve ever experienced. They couldn’t have picked better teachers for my kids different personalities. It was so nice to go to the school last week with the boys and let them explore the grounds, meet their teachers and check out their classrooms. We visited each class as a family, so the boys would know exactly where each other would be.
Monday and Tuesday are orientation days, where I’ll drop them off from 8:30 – 10:30 and they will be with 5 other new classmates. School officially starts on the 15th, but we’ll be in Chicago, so the boys won’t start until August 29. They’ll be there M-F from 8:30 – 2:30, giving me the perfect amount of time to go to work AND have a day or so to myself. I’m hoping this new school will usher in a new era, maybe one of balance, content, or dare I say bliss. Back to school…I say, “bring it!”