Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The First Seven Days of School

It was a deliberate decision of mine to keep Olivia at home till 2015. I simply did not see the need to send her to daily school yet, especially after having the experience of raising two older kids and educating preschoolers.

But I did my research and checked out many options, from church kindergartens to premium childcare centres, with the intention of enrolling her in 2015. There were many factors to consider but most importantly, whatever we pick has to suit our daily schedule. So it was not as simple as sending her to the nursery with the best curriculum or one that suits our budget. Convenience was my main consideration, before I would even consider curriculum and lastly budget.

After more than 18 months of toying with all my options, I registered her on the 8th Jan at the previous kindergarten that Chip went to. Even before Chip graduated, I already decided I would not be sending her to this kindergarten because I did not think its curriculum was as great as some would believe. But as it turned out, this is the only centre in the area that has a class which fits perfectly into our daily schedule. It makes logistics so much easier for me and the kids do not have to waste much time in the car waiting for each other. 

I brought her to the nursery that Thursday to familiarize with the place, registered and bought her school uniforms, all within an hour. For the rest of the day, I prepped her for the important "first day of school" routine. Throughout the day and much of the next morning, she just looked fearful and hesitant and repeatedly said she did not want to go to school. The next morning, it took some persuading for her to get dressed. E took the day off work so he could also witness his baby's first day at school. 

By the time we got to the waiting area where parents were supposed to say their goodbyes and leave the kids with the teachers, she was wailing uncontrollably. I hid in a corner to watch the teachers handle her for ten minutes before leaving the area. By the time we left, she was still crying and trying to run away from them, towards the exit which was where she last saw us. 20 min later, when the class finally made their way down from the hall to the classroom, I saw her walking with the teacher, no longer sobbing. When I picked her up at dismissal, I could tell she was not happy to be in school but at least she was not crying.

For the next few days, she would cry when I dropped her off but the teachers were able to distract her enough so her crying stopped after a few minutes.

Yesterday was Day 7 and daddy decided to bring her to school. Just as they reached the hall, a teacher came by and asked her for her name. E replied "Olivia". Just then, a boy (presumably from her class) remarked, "But she said her name is Elsa!" To that, my baby promptly pointed out, "Actually it is Queen Elsa of Arendelle."


When I picked her up at dismissal, she told me she liked going to school now. Her reasons - because the teachers gave me yummy snacks like honeystars (cereal) and she could just dance in the class.

Not really the reasons I was waiting to hear, but for now, they shall suffice.

Edit to add later:

I do notice the vast difference in my "first day of school" posts for all three kids. Just reading the details I felt compelled to go into in order not to forget his first day at nursery gave me goosebumps, especially after I read this post of my third child's equally important milestone.

I am tempted to say that each kid's first day at school is just as important to me. But who am I kidding?! If they are just as important, then why did I not feel compelled to spend as much time blogging about the details of O's first few days at school? The lack of time is a realistic reason, but also because of the "I have been there, done that" mentality. It is a fact that with more years of parenting experience, my expectations have changed. That said, while I may not blog as much about the first day or weeks of O's schooling experience now, it does not mean that I treat her days as anything less important than her siblings'. Sometimes I do wish I have more time to blog about her experiences so that I can look back in future and reminisce as fondly as I do now with the old posts.

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