Thursday, February 19, 2009

First Day!

To alleviate any suspense...Princess Ellie's first day of school went extraordinarily well!

After I posted last night, I went into the living room where Markus was working, and I started to cry. The typical Mom thing: my girl would be starting school, a first sure sign that she is growing up...and will grow away from me. Although I have been ready for her to go to Montessori for ages, although I know she will thrive there, although although although...I didn't want her to go! I became oh-so-distressed. Thankfully, it happened at a time when she couldn't see me. I worked it out of my system last night, so this morning was smooth sailing. She did try a stealthy get-out-of-it move in the car on the way to school when she announced matter-of-factly that she was very tired, so we must turn the car around and go straight home where Ellie can take a nap. It was an admirable attempt, given that she hasn't napped in days and knows I crave her naptime...but I didn't buy it. On we went.

For our first day, we were asked to arrive an hour later than the usual time so the teacher could have settled the others well before Ellie arrived so she could focus more on helping the new child adjust. We checked in at the office and made our way to her class. We passed lots of children her age doing a variety of fun activities, but she didn't notice because she was trying to become permanently imbedded in the back of my skirt. She hadn't peeked out at all even by the time I stopped at her class and began talking to her teacher. We had been asked to bring photos of Ellie for a timeline, one photo for each year of her life. As I passed those to her teacher, Ellie's interest was piqued. She came out from hiding to look at the photos, and that allowed her to see that many of the children in her class were snacking. SNACKS! Why didn't I say so? Well, she was fine after that. She got right to the business of taking out her lunchbox and trying to get at the contents. I took the opportunity to run away, and she didn't notice me leave. After snacking heartily, she spent a long time cutting paper with scissors, a much beloved activity which is too rarely facilitated at home. I think these two starter activities were enough to cement a good first impression: Ellie likes school.

I returned early to pick her up so I could chat with her teacher while the kids were on the playground. This first day was called a "readiness visit" to assess if Ellie would be ready to start on a daily basis. Her teacher emphatically informed me that "she is ready. She is so very very ready!" Ellie apparently did very well. As expected, the structure of the Montessori classroom appeals to her greatly, and she fit right into the mold. She even made friends with an older girl (the class is mixed ages 3-6), who taught her a few new materials. The only point that was hard was mid-way through the morning when they read a story as a class. After that, Ellie looked around and became distressed that I wasn't there. In Holland, school was done for the day after the story, so I guess that old programming kicked in and she expected me to come get her. There were many tears when she realized that wouldn't happen, but then she bounced back and did fine.

When the kids returned from the playground and she saw me, her eyes welled up with tears and so did mine. She was so overwhelmed...but she was happy. I felt the same way.
My girl is growing up.
I am so proud of her.


Karly said...

Oh, I am so happy that it was a good first day at school!

Anonymous said...

Long live Queen Eleanor! She is smart and beautiful and dearly beloved by her subjects, every single last one of us!


Meghan said...

Congrats to mama and ellie!! The first full day of school is such a big step for you both!

I'm so happy to hear it's a mixed age class. I witnessed that type of pre-school in Japan and I'm a true believer in the benefits!