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Day: Oct 15 2007

Two little butterflies sitting in the Sun,
One flew away and then there was one,
Butterfly butterfly happy all day
Butterfly butterfly fly fly away

What is this song?
This is a song from Barney. This was the song that I was mentally singing as I was driving Chula to the first day of her S.C.H.O.O.L. Yes, she is officially now in Pre-K.

What was playing in the car?
The song Vaadi Vaadi Vaadi from tamil movie Sachin. Chula and Mieja like the ‘dabbanguthu’. I am okay with it because I think the lyrics are okay and I must admit this song has taken our houshold by storm! If you make an unannounced trip to our home any time between 5PM-6PM, you will hear this song blaring from the laptop and the crazy mom and the two kids dancing to this song.

What was she wearing?
Her new blue denim capri from, flower embroidery over the right thigh. Pink turtle neck shirt. Purple fleece jacket. White sneakers. Two adorable pony tails.

What was she most excited about?
Her lunch bag. Shocking pink in color. She was holding on to it and was giggling every time she touched it. I think the lunch box was her primary incentive to go to ‘Montessoly school’.

What did she eat for breakfast?
Puffins cereal with milk.

What was she going to eat for lunch?
Grilled cheese sandwich – her favorite, watermelon – her absolute fav, carrots – hmmmm we are working to get it in the fav list.

All the above she requested for lunch when I was talking to her the previous day about school, the new routine, new lunch routine etc.

End of the day, only water melon was polished off, the rest was shoved in to her mouth in the parking lot.

Where is she schooling? Why this school?
A wonderful Montessori school close to home. Its been around for 15 years. I really liked it.

A friend asked me, ‘So did you analyze the pros and cons of all the schools in the Bay Area and finally picked the best of the best?’. I did analyze (and at times over analyze) lots of schools and listed pros and cons, but the intention was not to pick the best of the best. I toured this particular montessori and loved it, kind of love at first sight. I thought that my kids will thrive in this kind of environment. So listing the pros and cons of other schools was more for justifying my decision to hubby and myself.

Apart from the usual Montessori concepts I have seen implemented in other Montessori schools, they have some practical concepts like
‘Peace Table’ – if kids have an argument, a teacher takes them to a corner and
teaches them how to talk it out.
The kids are taught to be responsible for the environment. The school itself does not use diapers or any disposable things. So if you bring a child in with a diaper, the diaper is substituted with a cloth nappy by the teacher at the class room entrance.
Every kid is assigned a chore – clean up outdoor toys area, mediating sand box disputes, feeding the school pet etc.
Not to waste resources – They start with food. Be it the class snack or the lunch the kids bring, the kids are taught how to respect the food that is put on their table. (This is one of our families values. So this alone was enough to impress me.)

I also saw these concepts working! When I was touring the school, it was snack time. This little three year old boy, picked up his place mat, picked up a banana and before slicing it for his snack, went around asking all his classmates, ‘This is a big banana. I can’t finish it all. I don’t want to waste the rest. Will you share half a banana with me?’. And it was not an isolated incident. I saw a little girl asking if some one would share a slice of bread with her. I mentally gave these little kids a huge hug. I took Chula for a school visit, she was playing in the sand box and another child snatched the toy shovel from her hands. Chula started crying, would not accept any but a ‘YELLOW’ shovel. A little girl came to her and said, ‘Don’t be upset. You can talk to B and tell him not to snatch. If you want only a yellow shovel, you can have mine. I am more or less done with it.’ The she went to B and said, ‘That is not a nice thing, she new here and you can’t upset her on her first day.’ I have seen these little warriors armed with appropriate weapons cleaning/feeding/organizing the toys/instructing other kids to leave their shoes in an order…etc.

How is Chula taking to school?
I expected her to be head over heels excited on the day of the visit. Kind of hesitant on the first week, adamant that she hates the new place and wants to go back to the old place in the second week and settle down in the third week. Wham, bham, smack on target so far. End of week one and she now says, ‘I no want to go to Montessoly school. I only want M(her day care provider) school. Amma, you send Mieja to Montessoly with Appa’. :)

The day before first day of school.
Chula and self sat down and packed the things she needs to take to school. I let her pick out what clothes, blankets she wants to keep in her cubby at school. Also showed her her new lunch bag, lunch box, nap time pillow. She kept asking, ‘All this for meeee? Oh, thanq thanq thanq Amma. I like pretty new pink shoes’.

I felt like crying. There was this huge lump in my throat. I kept visualizing this child to go to a new environment and applying all she learnt about survival in her day care to the new school. She is going to make new bonds and meet new people. Her brain is going to be working hard in writing and rewriting new schemas. When put in to words all this sounded like a lot of work and more like an adult thing. But my barely three year old is going to do this! Made me very proud! A mother thingy.

The one thing that was more difficult than picking out the school itself
Finding school accessories. All I wanted was a cutsey kiddie lunch bag, nice fun back pack, pillow and a blanket. Why does every single kids product has to have a commercial cartoon character on it? It was ‘Jojo’ the elephant, ‘Thomas’ the train engine, ‘Barbie’ goes to school, ‘Dora’ the explorer, ‘Hello Kitty’, ‘Disney’ princesses. Phlueese, something without a ‘name’. I had no choice in the one store I went and not much time to raid lots of stores. So I picked out a regular adult throw pillow, plain fleece blanket, plastic containers for food and plain rubbermaid sipper water bottle. I scratched the back pack idea and decided to recycle an lunch bag that was lying around.

What I found most disturbing?
I was touring a school and was asking if they have regular monthly visits – from firemen, cops, music presentations etc to stimulate the child and she said, ‘No. We try to limit that kind of stimulation. Long time back, homes gave children stability and schools provided the stimulation and excitement. But in present days with the busy working schedule of parents, single parent family life style and many many more factors, schools provide the children the stability and familiarity they need. So we have only two presentations a year.’ Sadly true.