Monday, August 26, 2013

We Start At A New School This Week

We start at a new school this week. As some of you know, our son attended a small, private school close to home, and when I say "small," I mean K-8-under-one-hundred-students-small, where everyone knows your name. We're moving for a number of reasons, but the only one that matters to us is that our son requested it. He's ready to experience life outside his small brick building. Both Mom and Dad are a little nervous, because this will be a big change, not to mention culture shock for him. There will be no daily chapel, children aren't expected to hold doors open for their elders, he won't eat his lunch at his desk, nor will he be expected to attend eighth grade graduation each year. Having said all that, despite all that we'll miss that made his previous school special, we're proud of him for advocating for himself, stating that he's ready to make new friends, while firmly and confidently letting us know that he is not going to be siting at the peanut table, either.

Today we attend his new school's Fourth Grade Meet-and-Greet, where we'll drop in to the class, meet his new teacher, other parents and classmates. It's a huge fourth grade wing at a school that will be the equivalent of a small high school for a middle schooler used to a small brick building. I'm grateful beyond words for the role the school adjustment counselor, in addition to the other supports, that are being made available to make his transition as comfortable as is possible, for a ten-year-old, transferring to a new school. I can only imagine the anxiety a family must experience if they or their child are new to the country and don't speak the language. What supports are available to them? As a student of school guidance sitting on the other side of the table, I empathize with these concerns, and for that I'm also grateful.

This week we'll be chronicling a lot of firsts. We're not expecting everything to be perfect and we welcome the unpredictability and excitement that starting something new brings. I came across a wonderful article written by Dr. Michele Borba, a renown and multi-book published, parenting expert. The article is titled "Helping Kids Fit In to a New School and Make Friends." She makes some wonderful recommendations you might find helpful if you have a child starting at a new school.

Is there anything special you've done to ease your child's transition to a new school?