Last month, my son graduated Montessori school. I wasn’t anticipating the scale of the eruption of emotion that arrived upon me that day. It’s only baby school I rationalised, and as the tears streaked down my face leaving school after dropping him off for the last time. And this point, I would like to state that my son was completely unmoved by the gravity of the situation. Playing trains as enthusiastically as ever, completely oblivious to the fact that he was making the transition to big school. A transition that I have no doubt he will make with the same enthusiasm that he approaches everything else with – major. The prospect of more friends, more challenges and more numbers has led to a number of requests for trips to big school already. He is ready to go, but I am not ready to let him go. But, I am not sure if I will ever be ready to let him go, so the head must overrule the heart. And I must also buy one of those motivational signs for the house that says, ‘get a grip, its only school.’
When my son started Montessori, I wasn’t much better emotionally. Again, it took me by surprise. I had no tissues with me that morning, so I just did my best with my shirt sleeve as I wimpered up Blackrock Main St. My son went two mornings a week and took about three weeks to settle in. I was reassured that the screaming and clutching at my leg would wear off, and in fairness it did! After he realised that I wasn’t going to be leaving him indefinitely he was skipping in with enthusiasm. I then changed Montessori to Cherry Blossom Grove in Shankill due to a change in my job.
This suited him a little better as there were less children attending, which means there was less din and noise and could go about his business in relative peace. This Montessori was also owner run, with the owner there every day to run the school. There was less settling in time, as my son had the t-shirt after nine months already in Montessori, he looked curiously at the children who were going through the trauma of the first day for the first time. Looking back, he settled well into the larger Montessori, but he really flourished in Cherry Blossom Grove where he was encouraged to, and given the space to become his own little person. This I cannot put a value on, as he is now entering big school with a definite sense of self and purpose. I would like to thank the teachers at Cherry Blossom Grove for there hard work, dedication and boundless enthusiasm. It has made all the difference to my son and I.
The uniform has been bought, the material on healthy lunches read and reread (although after my unsuccessful foray into carrot batons for snack time I will be sticking to the cheese sandwiches) and the route to school timed. All that is left now is to practise some reading, enjoy the summer and reflect on how best to support him in his move to big school. Rest assured readers, there is a coffee morning in the big school for parents of the new junior infants, so I am relieved I am not the only one….