Thursday, September 8, 2011

Another school year

The school year actually starts in August in Alaska but preschool starts in September. We are sending Teddy to preschool this year as well as Delia so it is very expensive for us this year. In May I was scrambling to find a school since the part time program at Delia's old school ended. We aren't religious but I found two good church preschool programs. I liked one a little better since it had nice classrooms and a lovely playground but the times didn't work out since one kid would of been in the afternoon class and one in the morning and they had overlapping days. Now that the kids have started I actually really like their preschool. There are 2 teachers and 1 assistant and they all been doing it for over 20 years and have a lot of experience. They have a very rigid structure and a firm but gentle manner. They do more academics with the older class and more play with the younger class.

Teddy started on Tuesday. Since he was a rough kid at 2 and is still very sensory oriented and a crazy kid I was a little worried how he would do but he did great. He ran right in the class and made himself at home. His teachers reported he did great. He was happy and followed directions.

If I had my way Delia would be starting kindergarten. I think the cut off is too early in Alaska. It is expensive to test in and although I think she would do fine in Kindergarten. She isn't super ahead either. When I went to school there was a December cut off so I was the oldest with a January birthday. I didn't like being the oldest and felt like a lot of the kids were immature. Most of my friends in high school were older than me and not even in high school. I know that makes me biased but being nearly 19 at high school graduation and nearly 6 when starting kindergarten seems so old to me. I didn't like being almost 18.5 at graduation. It is a later start to the adult life that I was ready to start. If she was in school and struggling I would  have no problem holding her back or repeating kindergarten but I wish she at least had a chance to go. I love fall babies but I should of not had a bunch of babies born around the cut off.

Anyway Delia is in her last year of preschool. She is very shy and although she loves school she didn't open up as much as she could her first two years. A class of 20 was a little big for her at 3 so I found a smaller class the next year. I don't think she will outgrow shyness and introverted nature with another year of preschool. I think it will just be a part of her through her school years like it was for me. I hope she will have some patient teachers and the kids will also be patient with her and get to know her. I heard the peer pressure is lessened in the charter schools and I hope that is true.

This year was off to a great start for her. She ran into the classroom on her first day excited about the doll corner. Her teachers reported she was happy and held conversations with them so she is already doing better than last year and it is only the first day. Her teachers are confident that she will do good.

As much as I love Montessori type of schools I don't think it was the best fit for her and it doesn't allow her to open up and be confident. Her teacher last year thought she was so cautious and shy. She wouldn't hold full conversations at school. She also wouldn't follow the teacher's direction completely all the time or do all the activities. I know Delia and I know that she was capable of more than she let on at school. She was just feeling put on the spot and flustered a lot. I love the idea of Montessori but I am seeing it doesn't work for her. She does much better with a program that is structured and disciplined in a different way. She does best where she can sit back and take things in. The hands on approach doesn't work for her.

Since Teddy and Delia have different styles and are very different kids and we have a lot of alternative charter options in Anchorage I might send them to different elementary schools. I am glad I found a school that works for both of them this year. I think Delia is a little old to just be in school for 7.5 hours a week and I was thinking she would actually do better with the structure in a sit down kindergarten classroom rather than a preschool with a lot of free play and independent work. She is doing great even with a much bigger classroom this year. I know she will still be shy but I think she open up more this year and hold conversations with her teachers and maybe a few of the kids.

 I am excited to see how Teddy does in school. He is a outgoing curious kid with tons of energy.

Teddy on his first day of school

Delia on her first day of her last year of preschool

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