we had a chance to visit the new school earlier this week and I’m not sure who was more excited … and who was more a bundle of nerves and a wee bit of anxiety. school has been hard of late … hard academically, hard socially, hard to just navigate on many levels and this school visit seemed to have brought all those things to the surface for a little one.
walking in we’re greeted by a warm, smiling, jovial man … the school’s principal, he introduces himself to the little one with the warmth of a man who knows first-day jitters all too well. “you must be here to meet Ms D” he announces to me and my clinging one. “take a left at the bear and you’ll find her” are the instructions, along with a genuine “we’re glad you’re both here”.
so far, so good … this school has yet to disappoint in every interaction so I’m waiting for the other foot to drop. yes, I’m the ultimate optimist, a genuine pollyanna, but, sheesh!, who were these amazing people doing all sorts of really good things for the children in their care?!
then, right at the bear where we’re to turn, I see this big, proud display of the school’s philosophy — even hand calligraphed — speaking the words this school believes. and I stop, and I read as I hold the little one’s hand … and I get to the bottom and read this …
it was this … this is where I stopped and stared for as long as the little one, waiting so patiently, would let her momma.
” … we must continually evaluate and improve techniques for meeting the dynamic needs of our children and ourselves”
I had to hold back tears.
genuine, heart-felt tears that what I’ve been asking for, for so long — to listen to and meet this child where she’s at — is right here. this school may not be perfect and I know there will be spots where we don’t see eye to eye. but I know this, they’re at least willing to listen. and they’re willing to collaborate and connect. and as I sigh, internally and audibly, I can also let so much of my own angst go and start to trust again in people, in connections and collaborations, and not ‘systems’ where the battle is uphill from the word go.
when I look to this little one and see her excitement that this school has a library (a real library that’s the physical center of the school), that her new first-grade teacher is warm and welcoming and so beautifully grounded and in-tune, that she’ll cook this year, and garden in the raised beds every classroom has outside their doors, that recess happens twice a day and she even gets to watch butterflies grow through a life-cycle like she did over here … I have a feeling that wings will spread this year, butterflies and little ones alike.