Ben is back in Kindergarten, for the second time since "he did so well the first time." At least that's what we're telling him; the real truth being that he has an October birthday and we thought another year of the program could only benefit in the long run.
We were lucky enough this year to land a spot in the coveted Montessori main campus, located in Fair Oaks. Montessori aims to blend grades wherever possible so Ben is in a K/1 combination class this year. Just to be clear, our Montessori is not a private program; rather, it is a charter school with what I like to call "all the benefits of a private school without the tuition." The kids were uniforms, the classes tend to be smaller and there is a huge push, from as early as Kindergarten, to expose children to such subjects as zoology, cultural studies, current events, practical life skills and, my favorite, handwriting. Yes, I feel very blessed to be a part of a school that is not suffering from California's financial hardships. No, I do not like the daily drive which cuts out a full two hours from my day.
I finally feel like we have a sense of community with all the parents and children who have joined us at the new campus. Ben has three friends, two of which he has known since before his first birthday, who are in the program. The mothers of these children are all very dear to me.
As long as I can keep a flexible work schedule and some sanity with all the running around that I'm doing (anyone selling a Prius?) I believe that we can keep Ben in his new school and that he will thrive. And did I mention that it goes through 8th grade? I love that aspect and the added benefit of clustering middle grade children into groups of just 17, who then rotate to the various middle grade subjects.
We have much to look forward to and I'm feeling blessed to be a part of such an amazing and innovative approach to learning. Maria Montessori, in my view, is a saint. And California, despite all its flaws, finally did something right by recognizing the importance of this style of education and making it available to people seeking 21st century learning styles for their children.
Ben's First Day
Ben and longtime friends, L and K
Ben's long-lost pre-school buddy, A (poor A had a very painful elbow fracture just prior to school starting. Ben has designated himself as A's special helper. All good intentions and deeds then derailed on Back to School night when during a race between the boys, Ben reached out and grabbed A by the sling. A good sign that the night was most certainly over!)
Back to School Night (before the sling grabbing incident!)
New friends at Back to School Night