Today was the first day of school for August. He started Kindergarten and there are all sorts of emotions going on. There’s excitement about the new beginning, as well as being nervous about starting a new school with new people.
I’m glad that he’s going, not because I will finally get some much needed time to get work done, because that’s not going to happen until Déla starts pre-school next week. Even then, with my new job as a crossing guard my time is going to be limited and cut into some weird chunks.
No, I’m glad he’s started because there is only so much anticipation and build-up that can be handled by a child before they shut down. August was kept busy over the summer with a few day camps and other activities, so he never just sat around. Always in the background, however, was the specter of a new school. Having gone to an endless series of new schools growing up, virtually one every year until high school, I understand the trepidation about facing other kids that are unfamiliar, along with foreign procedures, regulations, etc.
We decided to send August to Catholic school for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest had to do with funding. The Seattle Public School system has a funding problem. I know that nearly every school district faces the same issue, but having gone through the public education system myself and falling through the cracks, as well as dealing with it for a number of years with my oldest son, and the problems we saw, we figured if we could avoid it, we would.
Every year, there’s a juggling act within the public education system for enough funding. Class size and resources are constant issues that are coming up – throughout the school year even. While the core education is decent enough, you never know from year to year if there is going to be enough money to fund the music program, or maintain the class size (that is always expanding) and supplies. This isn’t to even address the issue of “dead wood” that … well, I could go on and on about the problems with the public school system. I’m still a believer in it, and will always vote to support it, but the year to year fluctuations were something we decided as a family to avoid.
Where August is going to school, there aren’t as many “bells and whistles” as one might find in a public elementary school – but many of those fun features would also be the first ones cut (and have been) due to budget constraints. The Catholic school doesn’t have these issues as it simply provides the same quality education year after year after year. That’s not to say it is a simple, “bare bones” style education, but that it focuses on the necessities and makes sure they are always covered. Sure, there’s tuition, but the point is that our child have the best education possible.
Besides, the school is a block away.
August looked great in his school uniform. There were some issues as to what to wear, partly because the uniform isn’t exactly a uniform, but more of a dress code. This allows for a wider variation in what is allowable, and with that comes a greater questionability. Does this shirt meet the standards? Do these pants? Which shirt and pants combination are the dress uniform and which is not? We got it all sorted out, and took August to the classroom this morning.
Upon returning home this morning, he gave a report as to how things went. Well, as much as he was able to. There were 6 children at his table (including him) and one of them he knew. They went over a few of the class rules, introduced themselves, and spent some time getting their bearings. August also said they had recess, but he didn’t have much fun because he didn’t really know what to do and it was over really quick. Such is the half day schedule.
As the week goes on he’ll get more comfortable with his new surroundings. Déla wanted to wear her own backpack to school to drop off and pick up August, even though she isn’t starting her own school yet. She was just caught up in the excitement of it all. Her enthusiasm may have helped August be a little braver in facing this new challenge.
Now if somebody could just help me get through this scheduling challenge…