I have had the pleasure over the last few weeks of taking the girls to school each morning, as this is typically dedicated to Marc. Even though I usually get up at 6 am and arrive at work by 9:00, my morning routine is jam packed with meditation, exercise, scarfing down breakfast, getting the girls dressed, and finally myself….and boy, does time fly.
One of my personal decisions in choosing to move half way across the country was to spend more time with my family, as well as being closer to our family here on the east coast. Back in Kansas City, my work responsibilities did not allow for me to be involved at all with the girls daily school regimen, as I was already en route to work while they were still sleeping. I really wanted to be there to wake them up and help get them dressed for school – even if I couldn’t take them, and at least be able to contribute to the start of a joyous day and be able to send them off with a kiss.
I’m now able to do that every morning, and now even have the time to take them to school. Being used to working 55-60 hours a week, I had forgotten what a 40 hour work week felt like….and it is GREAT!
Back to the girls’ school:
First, there’s a whole staff there to help unload and load your child into the car when you arrive. The cars pull up and around, the vice – principal, school counselor, and several other administrative employees open your car door and even help unbuckle the kids out of their car seats if needed, as they wish you a wonderful day and see YOU off, leaving you with a feeling that your kids are in good hands. Although we walk our kids in and personally deliver them to their classrooms, it’s a nice service to see.
Second, it’s a very relaxed atmosphere, with a somewhat relaxed starting time. Honestly, I still do not know the official start time. They encourage drop off times between 7:40 and 8:00 am. If they see a lot of late stragglers, they’ll wait a little longer before morning announcements. There’s a greeter that sits at the front door to sign you in, nice friendly kid tunes played by the music teacher Mark, on his ukulele, and the front office is warm and inviting – complete with softly lit lamps and a small play and book area for the kids. Everyone seems so warm and genuine in their willingness to serve you. You can truly tell that most of these people enjoy their jobs and take pride in it.
Speaking of morning announcements- they are unlike any that I’m familiar with in this day and age.. The very first thing that is announced on the intercom is the start of the school day with what they call “morning meditation”. They observe 60 seconds for an opportunity for you to pray, meditate, or just sit quietly and slow down from the morning rush and gather your thoughts. I think this is GREAT and what a way to get centered! And this is not private school, but public school!
In observing, the staff and a whole lot of the kids take it seriously. You see many with their eyes closed and lips moving saying a private prayer, you see some with eyes closed and heads resting on their table tops, and some just sitting perfectly still just watching. I often tease Marc, because the few times that we have taken the girls to school together, and we happen to be there at this time, Marc gets serious about taking his opportunity to meditate. We’ll be standing still in the hall, and I’ll look over at Marc and his eyes will be squeezed shut, lips moving, and sometimes arms outstretched. He takes this moment and any moment that he can – to say thank you. I mean, I take the moment too, but not like him 🙂
I can remember when I was in middle school, in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, 6th grade, and every morning during our announcements the principal would read an actual bible verse and say a morning prayer. Those were the beginning of the end of the last days of prayer in public schools before the whole church vs. state debate began to grip the nation. Perhaps, this is another reason why I enjoy this part of the kiddos school…brings back nostalgia.
The school is also heavily centered around embracing the arts, with frequent trips to art museums, and theater shows. The teachers seem unafraid to hug their students and comfort them without fret of accusation or concern.
We’ve had lunch with them a couple of times, and I’ll tell ya, the school lunches today, far exceed what I remember. These kids have their choice of a fresh salad, and several choices of entree items, fresh fruit, flavored milk or juices, ice cream/popsicles, as well as some snack items.
The school is very much multicultural. I’m so glad that the girls are not the sole brown kids in their class anymore, and for a little while, I was starting to think that little brown boys were extinct!
The school hosts an International Night to celebrate all the various cultures of their school, and everyone is encouraged to wear their ethnic attire. There’s food, dancing, and plenty of fun.
Suffice it to say, we’re very happy with this school, the girls enjoy it and have grown leaps and bounds this school season in their Kindergarten and First Grade Class.
Cheers to a great school experience!