Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One week in...

Her shirt pretty much sums it up...
She loves Kindergarten!
{and that makes us very happy}

Today is only her fourth day, and so far her school has been amazing.  When we were going through the nerve-wrecking process of testing and waiting on an admissions decision early this year, we prayed and prayed that she would end up just exactly where she needed to be.  We obviously wanted her at this school, but most importantly we wanted her to end up where God wanted her to be.  It feels amazing to be on the other side of that coin and see her enjoying and loving her new school!  What an answered prayer!

These are just a few of my favorite things so far...
{I want to be able to look back on these one day and remember our first weeks of elementary school} 

* The faculty seems really happy to be there. 
Before my current position, I worked as a Program Manager and later as a Development Director for an educational nonprofit organization that awarded grants to public schools.  As part of my job, I had the chance to visit lots - and I mean  LOTS - of schools in our area...elementary, middle, and high schools.  That was an eye-opening experience. 

I saw GREAT teachers in not so great schools and BAD/MEAN/UNHAPPY teachers in so-called good schools.  And I learned that a teacher's disposition makes all the difference.  Of course, good administration and parent involvement play a key role, but oh my, teachers make or break the deal - that's for sure.  It's got to be one of the hardest jobs out there, but when you have a good teacher who enjoys what he/she's doing - WOW!  I love how everyone I've met at her school seems to want to be there.

* They seem to make a real effort to get to know the students right away.
I noticed this even from our short week-long summer camp.  This school is a pretty good size...4 classes per grade...yet the principal, the counselor, and several teachers already call Grace by name.  It sure makes this mama's heart happy to know that her "baby" is not lost among the numbers.

* They make a point of really creating a school family from the start.
I love how they have so many opportunities for every family to get involved, regardless of their work schedule or situation.  And I LOVE their fifth grade buddy system! 

* The children are so polite! 
It really brings a smile to my face every day when the fifth grade student that closes my door during carpool in the morning says, "I hope you have a great day."  Every time that we've gone to a school function, the cheerleaders and older kids are stationed all throughout the school greeting people as they walk in and showing them around.  Kindness and respect are so important to me - I love how it seems her school helps to encourage those traits as well.

* The principal is hands-on.
I'm so impressed to see her in the morning helping with carpool, see her around the school, rather than stuck in an office, see her talk to students and encourage them.    She used to be a kindergarten teacher...enough said :)

* I love that I see teachers give hugs to students.
Oh, in this day and age when everything has to be so politically correct and there are so many do's and don'ts, it's so nice to see some of the old-fashioned values still shining bright!  I love to see the teachers at her school give a glad-to-see-you hug to the kids before sending them on their way or passing them in the hall.

* And last, but certainly not least, her teacher seems to be the caring, compassionate individual that you hope your child has every year!
She's a great communicator, her classroom has a certain welcoming feel to it, she has some pretty neat ideas and practices...I love that she has high expectations of them and I LOVE how she seems to really care for each child individually and the class as a whole.       

I hope this doesn't come of as bragging or boasting, that's not my intention at all.  I just want to remember the early weeks of her first official year in school and how we felt while embarking on this journey.  I'm beyond thankful to God for giving the little pumpkin the opportunity to attend such a great school.

Two years ago on her first day of Preschool... and now, during her first week of Kindergarten...
{when I look at these pics and how she's standing against the sofa, I can't believe how tall she's gotten!!}
During our parent orientation on Monday night, her teacher ended the meeting by saying, "I want them to be good listeners, be patient, and be kind."  I knew I liked her for a reason ;)  I'm writing those words on the back of our carpool tag so the little pumpkin and I {and Hudson come September} can say them every morning.  I know all 3 of us can benefit from that sweet reminder.

Hope your school year is off to a great start and if you're a teacher or educator, THANK YOU for what you do!
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5 comments:

Billie Jo said...

Sooo happy things are going well for you all! Great teachers make great schools...and when that happens, children are blessed! It is hard to send our little ones to someone else all day, but when you know they are being taught, and loved, and cared for...it becomes much easier!Have a great day!

Angel said...

Loved this! Thank you for the privilege of praying for Grace and her school enrollment this past year. It's great to see how God answered that request. I love your heart, sweet friend.

As I was reading your list I was glad to realize that we feel the same way about our school too. It's great to know our kids are in the place they will excel best in. We found out this week that E's teacher grew up at our church and still attends, her mom and my mil know each other well. Her mom was even my Bible study leader for a while. I know she's in good hands this year.

Now for the cute outfits. ;) Love, love, love that sweet first pic. My how old she's looking. not in a sad way, but in a fun "I'm excited for what lies ahead for her" way. And it's fun to see her ABC outfit still fits, my how she has grown.

Tell Grace, Miss Angel, Emily and Allison wish her a great year in kindergarten.

Jessica said...

Billie Jo~ you are so right!! It is sooo hard to send our littles off all day, but then when they come home with big smiles, well, it makes it all worthwhile! :)

Angel~ I truly appreciated your prayers for Grace's school decision. Knowing we had Godly friends praying with us made such a difference and sure helped to calm our antsy heart.

It's such an amazing feeling when you feel your kids are just exactly where they are meant to be - I'm so happy A & E are loving their school!! And that's too neat about Emily's teacher!!

The ABC outfit still fits her perfectly, the pants are just "cropped" now :)

I have to share this with you...
The other day we were reading Good Night, Minnesota (one of Hudson's favorites right now...he he) and Grace, of course, had to bring up to Hudson how he tore the monster pop-up book we bought when we visited Wild Rumpus last year. Hudson said, "Sorry sister. Guess we just need to go up to 'Minnesopa' and get another one." he he...if only it were that easy ;)

Big hugs to you guys!
~Jessica

Melanna said...

Aw, I love this! We embark on this journey next year. It's nice to get a sneak peek. But eek! Scariest thing I'll ever have to do and choosing the school is torture!
I think you should print off or email this post to the principal. They need to know what they're doing right so they don't quit doing it, even when they get pressure from outside sources (I'm thinking of things like the hugs!). I wish more schools were like the school you're at for the sake of kids everywhere.

Katie said...

Jessica, I regularly follow your blog and enjoy seeing your creativity with crafts and parties. But your words in this post really spoke to me - how very lucky we are when we find good, safe and loving environments for our kids to grow. Thank you for sharing!
Blessings for a wonderful year,
Katie
PS - any chance you could share where you got Grace's super cute outfits? (or perhaps you might sell them when the year is out?) My littlest will be starting kindergarten in the fall and would love them!