This week was bitter-sweet for all of us. Of course, I'm proud that Lewie is growing up and that he had such a wonderful kindergarten experience at Surreybrook. Still, I'm sad that he's getting "older" right before my eyes, and that when he enters a classroom of 17 children next year instead of just 6, he will be a little less sheltered and a little more savvy to the ways of the world.
The Surreybrook Kindergarten Graduation for Lewie was everything we would expect from a very non-conventional school. (I wrote about the curriculum in "School Days in a Nature Based Classroom.") The graduation party was held outside under some shaded trees in the back yard of the school. Everyone was dressed very casually and comfortably (no graduation gowns or caps), and the children played with each other while the parents lined up to say goodbye to the kindergarten teacher, who was so wonderfully nurturing to all of the kids this year. (I was happy to find out that she tutors children in her house during the summer, so Lewie will still be seeing her every Monday for an hour-long reading and writing session.)
Other teachers, such as Lewie's art, Spanish, music, and science teacher, also came out to say goodbye to the parents and children. We took pictures of the children with their teachers, the children with their parents, and then one last group photo. Lewie's kindergarten teacher surprised them all with a parting gift bag of goodies, and she, of course, was showered with flowers and gifts from the parents too.
|Lewie and Grammy|
|So proud of my little boy!|
|All six kindergarten graduates with their most favorite teacher in the world!|
|Special "goody bags" for all the children--written in their favorite colors.|
|One final group lesson outside in Nature's Classroom.|
|Lewie and his most favorite teacher.|
|Enjoying an orange popsicle before leaving...|
I'm sorry to see this year go. Lewie will be remaining at Surreybrook for their summer camp session of 6 through 12 year-olds, but after that, he moves on to a "big school." We went for a tour last week, and I could see that he was nervous. He wanted to see the "classroom and the kitchen." He didn't expect that they would show him 18 classrooms (three for every grade) and a huge cafeteria filled with tables and chairs--not to mention the library, the gym, the nurse's station, etc. etc.
I plan on taking him back there multiple times during the summer, so he can get used to the buildings and the play ground, but other than that, the goal is just to enjoy the summer as much as possible before September comes. Does anyone have suggestions on how to help a child feel more excited and less afraid about starting school? I'll take any advice!