Two years ago we spent six months visiting all the schools within forty miles of our home. We chose a beautiful little school that went from preschool through fourth grade and thought to ourselves "great, that's done." It was a long drive - 25 minutes away but we really liked it. Liked the director, the teachers, the other families. And they liked us, asked us to join the board. More importantly they loved him. Everyone just loved him. The only problem was, he didn't like it. He liked the other children and loved the director and the teachers but he was the only one in his class with brown skin and he talked about that all the time. It was also very quiet, controlled you might say. I loved that. Seemed very nice to me. Not to him. His favorite activity is going to China Town in New York City and just walking through the crowd on Canal Street with all the noise and car exhaust and thousands of tourists pushing past us to get to fake purses.
And so last week he started kindergarten at the large, somewhat chaotic but very wonderful magnet public school a short walk from our house. The director is wonderful and has done really great things with a school that a few years ago was failing. Now there's free violin and cello starting in kindergarten (not that my led zeplin lovin' drumming crazy guy is going for either - but I like the idea that someone's kindergartner is taking cello.) there's environmental science and a TV station run by the fourth and fifth graders.
First day of school he said while eating his cereal "I am a mix of anticipation and anxiety." He really is too much sometimes. A few minutes later his father took this photo and yes there it is the anxiety and anticipation. And the verdict after his first full week; he loves it! He actually can't wait to get to school. His classmates are a lovely mix of children from many different cultures and he seems to feel finally comfortable in his own skin. So we've learned a lesson. All the research in the world won't make up for sitting down and listening to your own child. And sometimes test scores are not the most important factor in whether or not the school will be the right learning environment for a child.
It's been such a lovely week. We feel so blessed.