Today Adeline has been at her new school for 100 days. Every single one of them has been a good one. Have I told you how much I love Adeline's school??? Every day she bounces off happily to school in the morning and she bounces out of her classroom at the end of the day, declaring her school day "Excellent!", "Awesome!", "Amazing!", "Great!", "Fabulous!" or "The BEST DAY EVER!". She fakes being well so that I won't keep her home when she has a cold and she counts down the days until she can go back to school when she's on holidays.
Why do I love Adeline's school? Here's just some of the reasons...
- Adeline can work at her own pace. She is doing grade one math and grade two writing and grade three reading and she's following her interests in science and geography and she's progressing with those as quickly or as slowly as she needs to. Not that they actually talk to anyone about those grade levels. Every child is supported to work at their level, whatever that may be.
- Adeline is learning some AMAZING things about how the world works.
- At Adeline's school they study famous artists and do some really interesting art activities.
- We're so happy to be missing out on Disney Princesses, Shopkins and Monster High. Yes, most of the kids watch television and movies, but they've got a lot more than that going on in their lives and they're just not a big thing at her school. There's no rule against it, but almost no one even wears character shirts or has character lunch kits.
- Adeline is learning to be self-directed and self-motivated in her learning and to be a creative thinker. Actually she always was, but this school is encouraging it to continue!
- Adeline's class has 20 children and 2 really great teachers.
- The teachers are so respectful and warm and passionate about their work.
- The teachers always seem to be having a good day and they're always happy to talk to you at the end of the day.
- The teachers really know each child and work with them individually to develop the whole child - academically, socially, physically, emotionally - everything.
- Adeline is friends with everyone.
- Yes, conflict happens, but children are given tools and support to express themselves and to deal with the conflict in a healthy way.
- The children at the school all really know each other and are very respectful and friendly - even if they've never been in a class together.
- Adeline's classroom and the whole school are beautiful. Bright and full of light and peaceful and orderly.
- There is a lovely natural area for the children to play in.
- Adeline's days are a bit longer, but she gets more outdoor and indoor movement time than in public school.
- Adeline's class is 50 percent children who aren't Caucasian - most of those 50 percent are Asian.
- Adeline's class has 3 children who joined their families through international adoption, so our family doesn't stick out at all.
- Some of her classmates have other kinds of untraditional families too.
- The school is very multicultural and it celebrates everybody's holidays. Adeline has had so much fun and learned so much. She really found some deep resonance in what she learned about Rosh Hashanah and Diwali and she brought those things home to share with us.
- On Friday they celebrated the Lunar New Year in their classroom and with a school-wide assembly. Celebratory outfits were encouraged and Adeline was happy and proud to wear her ao dai to school. She knows she looks beautiful!
- Adeline has separate teachers for gym, French and music - they are all wonderful too!
- Adeline and her classmates will be performing in a musical this Thursday - "It's a Jungle Out There". Adeline will be playing an elephant. This is the grade 1 to 3 musical and there are others for the other grades.
- So much opportunity for music at Adeline's school - choir, recorders, guitars, band, strings, musical theatre...
- Adeline gets to take skating and swimming lessons through her school. She's really enjoying skating now that she's spending more time skating and less time falling!
- All the classes have pets - Adeline can't wait to be in Grade 7/8 - they have guinea pigs AND a cockatiel!
- The parents are all really friendly. At pick up time we all just stand around talking to each other and it's really nice. No one is head down over their phone as they wait.
- The children can get a snack or a drink any time they need it during the morning or afternoon work period. That just seems so much more appropriate for children than making them wait until lunch.
- If a child needs some down time there is a cozy book area with pillows where a child can relax for a bit or do some reading alone or with a friend.
- As much of the learning as possible is done hands-on.
- There are raised beds for gardening.
- There are overhead lights, but often they are turned off and they use natural light or incandescent table lamps.
- The children can work wherever they are comfortable - at a table or on the floor or standing up.
- Children often work in pairs and groups and are often teaching each other things.
Oh how I could go on. I could probably think of 100 things I love about Adeline's school - one for each day she's been there!
So happy we found this special place. I wish it was free, of course, but it's worth the sacrifices to have our girls spending so much time at such an amazing school where they will learn so much and be encouraged to really be themselves.