Monday, September 8, 2014

Off to Kindergarten!

First Day of School, 2014
As sad as I always am to see summer come to a close, the start of this school year brought so much excitement.  Lilly began her lunch bunch (or Kindergarten) year at Hunt Ridge, and had her first full day today.  She has been ready and asking to be a lunch buncher since her first day there two years ago.  When I told her that on the way to school this morning, she started laughing and said, "But Mom, 3 year olds can't be lunch bunchers. Only 5 year olds can!"  Lilly carries such joy, determination and excitement with her and has from her earliest days--even her entrance into the world was on her own terms and so fitting knowing the little girl she is today.  I've heard from lots of parents at the school about how amazing the third year of Montessori is.  It's a year when everything they've done over the past two years comes together.  They learn how to transition from using concrete manipulatives to abstract thinking.  They're not just taught how to add and subtract and to memorize math facts, but what decimals and place value really mean so that when math becomes more difficult down the road, they have a solid foundation upon which they can build.  They're the oldest children in the classroom and have the opportunity to teach lessons to the younger children.  They learn how to become respectful leaders. I have been constantly amazed by what Lilly learned at school over the past two years so I can only imagine where this year will take her!

Putting my love of the Montessori classroom aside, there's a little part of me that is sad today.  That same ache that I had on Lilly's very first day is back.  I know it's the next step and that Lilly is ready, but last night, I overheard a little conversation between Lilly and Hannah, when Lilly took Hannah aside and said:   "I'm going to be a lunch buncher now Hannah, so you won't get to see me very much during the day.  But don't worry, I'll be home to play on weekends. And Jack will be home to play with you during the day but only until Christmas and then he's coming to school with me.  And then you'll get to come to school one day too..." At which point she lost Hannah's attention and went back to getting ready for bed.  It was lighthearted and she was so happy when she was chatting to her, but it was a moment where I had to hold back tears.  

Today, I miss my little chatty friend, who even though she usually has quiet time while the other two are napping, manages to find a way to ask me 32652039 questions.  I miss hearing her singing from the basement while she plays by herself and creates villages and picnics and tea parties.  I know Lilly is having a wonderful day at school, and will probably come home at 3:00 with most of her lunch still in her lunch box because she was too busy talking to her friends to eat, but I still have a lump in my throat.

Lilly, ready for Kindergarten soccer.
So now, I have some quiet time of my own, before Jack and Hannah wake up and we pick Lilly up from school.  We're going to pick up Peter, one of her very best friends, and all go and have ice cream together, with some special ice cream money sent all the way from Singapore from Uncle Edward.  Lilly doesn't know this yet, so I can't wait to see her face when we tell her. It's the perfect surprise for her first full day as a lunch buncher!

Waiting at the bus stop in the morning with some of the neighborhood children.  We do it every morning before getting in the car and going to school!
Another morning at the bus stop.