September 08, 2004

This Is Going To Be Interesting....

So today is the first day of school for the Llama-ettes, including my youngest who starts preschool. I think she is going to thrive in the place. Montessori preschool puts lots of emphasis on tactile activities and this girl has the hands of a raccoon. Her classroom is loaded down with all sorts of puzzles, gadgets and props and I don't doubt she is going to go right through all of them within the first half hour or so.

In a way, I feel rather sorry for her teacher, the long-suffering, patient Mrs. Wood. You see, the preschool/kindergarten program at the girls' school is a three year cycle and my oldest girl just graduated from Mrs. Wood's class up to the lower elementary class. My youngest doesn't actually turn three until January, so she is starting the preschool program a bit early and will be there for four years before going upstairs. Seven solid years of Llama-ettes is enough to merit any teacher combat pay and some kind of medal.

Speaking of my oldest, her eyes were practically blazing last night as she picked out which uniform she was going to wear her first day. She is also excited because this is going to be her first experience with what she calls a "boy teacher". As if this isn't enough, she also gets her own locker and finally gets to take her backpack to school - something she's been dreaming of for years. Her new class is a mix of first, second and third graders. Fortunately, she's going in with three or four of her friends from last year, so it should be a smooth transition.

Meanwhile, the middle child [Gasp! Don't SAY that! - Ed.] is on her third year in the preschool/kindergarten program. (She started early, too, so will be there another year after this.) She has a reputation around school as a natural leader because she has always gone out of her way to help out the smaller kids and to make friend with new students. She also has a reputation for fearlessness and indestructability - last year she fell off the monkey bars and landed flat on her back. After brushing herself off, she was right back on them. Alas, she has recently got considerably more snippy than she used to be. I fear she may gain yet another reputation this year. Fortunately, her teacher, Ms. Reichner, does not stand for uppity behavior from her charges.

I used to be a bit dubious about Montessori. It's got something of a bad reputation as a hippie-dippie do-your-own-thing kind of education. But this is largely confined to places that call themselves Montessori but really aren't. The purists manage to combine both structure and creativity in the same setting. And I must say that my older girls have done splendidly in this environment. My six year old reads better than many second graders and is well into multiplication and division, while the four year old is getting to the point of being able to read simple sentences. Combine that with all the exposure they get to art, music, geography, natural science, etc., etc., and I think they're in good hands.

Posted by Robert at September 8, 2004 08:56 AM | TrackBack

I know what you mean about the Montessori rep, but a few years ago one of my brothers had the good sense to marry one of their teachers. Her son from her previous marriage was a bright boy, yet, like with all children, you didn't know if that was just Josh, or if there was some above-and-beyond education going on there.

It was the education.

They've since had two boys, who could both read by the age of two. They speak in complete sentences and always have (which is frightening! Try turning down a two-year-old who asks in a very adult-like way, "why can't I have more of this, there's a whole bowl full on the table? Plus it's a vegetable. Aren't you always asking me to eat my vegetables? Well, I want to but you're denying me. Why") Not to mention their mother is the most patient person when it comes to reprimanding children that I've ever met. She's never lost her patience and yipped at her kids. I asked her how that was possible, especially considering her boys are no different than my brother was when it comes to searching out trouble, and she simply said she refuses to consider the possiblity.

I don't know if there's something in the water that the teacher's drink, but whatever it is, it's good. Hope the first day of school goes well!

Posted by: Kathy at September 8, 2004 11:06 AM

Oh I think there must be - my wife is one of 'em too. A more devoted acolyte of St. Maria you will never find.

Posted by: Robert the Llama Butcher at September 8, 2004 11:47 AM

Great...I look forward to seeing you out at Dulles handing out little carnations and wanting to introduce us to the philosophy of Maria....

Posted by: Steve the Llamabutcher at September 8, 2004 03:43 PM

Its the kids

Posted by: Sparky at September 9, 2004 08:24 AM
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