I have been wanting to post about our doings over the past weekend, and I have some wonderful pictures to share...but first I must interrupt for an important news bulletin: Ellie starts school tomorrow! You may or may not remember the saga we had with schools when we arrived here six months ago. Every school and preschool and daycare and even playgroup has a waiting list, as the population has recently boomed out of proportion here around Perth. I have wanted Ellie to go to a Montessori preschool since before she was born, but it was looking quite unlikely when we started making inquiries. I applied to four Montessori schools and was put on four waiting lists. Then, magically, four spots were offered to us! Her mama's Montessori background opened all doors! We could take our pick, and we chose the Montessori school closest to our home. It's also the most philosophically grounded in the Montessori method (almost obsessively so). We were told she could start the next week...and that was in November. Then that got pushed back until after summer break. Remember, we are Down Under, so summer break like we have in the US happens over Christmas holidays here. School was out from mid-December until late January. Classes resumed a few weeks ago, but new students are brought in after the returning students settle back into routine. On Tuesday, I went in alone to observe Ellie's new class and her teacher. The school requires the observations to acquaint parents with the Montessori system, but I was happy to acquaint myself with the faces Ellie will be seeing daily from here on out. Her teacher is a lovely, soft-spoken, friendly woman from (just to show how interlinked life gets once you start living abroad) Nigeria. I am so happy Ellie will have a wonderful role model of a different race, because the Western Suburbs of Perth are some kind of white people Twilight Zone the likes of which I haven't experienced since living in New England. Ellie will go to school five half-days a week until she's old enough and ready to stay for full days. This is a Montessori school (not just preschool), so it carries on until middle school. Once she's in, she's in.
There have been too many administrative debacles (that I won't whine about here) for us to feel confident about staying with the school at the moment, but we're hopeful these issues will melt away once Ellie gets going in the system. After my observation on Tuesday, I was so excited for her to get started! She wants to learn! She wants to be around other children. She wants to try and do new things, every day. She wants to be challenged and engaged. This school will give her those opportunities at a time when baby Stephanie is demanding more and more of my time and attention as well. We expect the next few weeks to be tough as we go through the transition (she'll be exhausted every day!), but we are happy to get going with this new phase of her life! Ellie will be starting school! Amazing.