Last week Grace had her first two days at her new school. The culmination of much angst, five school tours and two trial/transition days. It's been a process but, you know, I'm really really glad we did it. I'm sure that things will be less than perfect. There are already comparisons between the new school and the old school. The playground is much smaller, the class rooms are smaller and have more children with less air conditioning on a hot day. The commute by bike is longer, although I am marking that as a positive. However the thing that overrides it all is that at the end of the day we are getting a happy Grace. One who is prepared to talk about her day.
There were so many things we (G and me) didn't like about the old school. We had become really bitter. I'm still bitter and angry. About the asbestos working bee, about the attitudes towards the parents who were concerned about exposing themselves and their children to asbestos dust, the shouting teacher who drank coke throughout the day in full view of the children, the three hours a day of iPads that we weren't allowed to have any say about, the toxic stuff between the parents and the way you couldn't talk about a problem and try to work towards a solution without being called a whinger. But what upset me most, what became the final straw was something that came to light after Grace's first trial day at another school. When I asked her about her day on the train home, she said, Mum it was great! I had someone to play with all lunch time. Fark. How come I didn't know this? We talked about it quite a bit over the next week or so and it turned out she had been shuffling around the playground by herself for ages. Not every lunch time but enough for it to be significant. She still had after school play dates that worked well but lunch time was often lonely. We kept talking and within two weeks she had worked out a solution and paired up with another girl who was escaping the lunch time issue by playing with the preps. And then they started games that other girls joined in. There were some other girls (or one particular girl) they weren't allowed to join but on the whole it was a win. I was furious, why didn't the school let me know this was happening? Did they not notice or did they not think it was any of their concern? Or maybe none of my concern? We could have avoided months and months of silent, hidden misery.
Anyway with the new school, so far so good. Grace has made a new friend and is starting to get to know people. The uniform is a polyester shocker but you don't have to wear it if you don't want to. The vibe at pick up and drop off is friendly. Lots of kids Grace went to childcare with. Some parents we know from round about. I am beginning to feel a great big weight slide from my shoulders.
ps Grace, I'm sorry if I have shared too much but I am so glad you are having a happier time at school.