We are a Montessori family, which means the kids start school when they turn 3. Stephanie has been three for a couple of weeks now, so we knew the day was coming. Montessori classes are mixed age. The youngest class is 3 to (almost) 6, and the school keeps siblings together at this level, which we love. Stephanie will go into Ellie's class, and Ellie cannot wait to show her the ropes. This happens just in time, because the decision has been made to move Ellie up to the next age group a bit ahead of schedule. She will transition out over the remainder of this term and will start in her new class in term 2. For now, she is ready and waiting to welcome Stephanie into her domain.
Their teacher, Lydia, came for the home visit this past Friday. We chatted about Stephanie's readiness. Markus and I had decided to start Stephanie in slowly. While the school wants kids to go every day from 8:30am to 1:30pm at age 3, we feel this is a bit much and certainly too much from the start. We've decided to start Stephanie with 8:30 to 11am on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and build from there. Stephanie has never been to daycare. She hasn't really ever had sitters. She is always with me. This will be a huge change for us both! I have my reservations, but I'm trying to be sure they are my reservations and not Stephanie's. In many respects, I think she's ready to go. While she hates the actual moment of separation from me almost every time (even when separating to be with Markus), I know she is over it the moment I am out of sight. I am thankful that Ellie will still be in the class to help her transition. They are such good sisters and Ellie is such a loving nurturer that I'm sure Stephanie will be in good hands (of course, her teachers are great too!). My lingering concerns are about her personal learning style and ways of doing things (so out of the box and so different from Ellie, whose obsession with order made her take to Montessori like a duck to water). We'll see how she goes and take it slowly. Of course, I realize I'm going to need intervention in the carpark if/when she cries at the door. I will hold it together until then, but that's the best I'll be able to do. It's a milestone in progress, for both of us.