Monday, October 15, 2012
McKenzie, Clyde and Marianna on their first day in Mrs. Hudson's Kindergarten class at Donnelly Elementary. It was nice to know two of Clyde's classmates before school started.
Starting Kindergarten was a big adjustment for our family, but after a couple weeks we got into a good routine. It required getting up with Ben and having breakfast together which leaves lots of time to get ready instead of getting up at a quarter to seven and expecting we can be out the door by half past seven. It's been nice to see Ben in the morning as he used to be gone before we were up. Homework was a huge adjustment as was the focus on handwriting and worksheets. I've been volunteering once a week too so I get a view inside the classroom. Donnelly Elementary is a wonderful school, but the differences between public education and private Montessori education are pretty evident. The main one I notice is the lack of concentration. The kids go from one thing to the next when some aren't done yet. There is constant interruption by other kids or the teacher, so there really is never an opportunity to really concentrate on a task. At Montessori, children are choosing their own work and have the opportunity to really focus on a task for long periods of time, regardless of what the other children are doing. The rote writing work and sight word memorization at public school, however, has been really effective. Clyde's handwriting improved substantially and he knows a number of words by sight along with being able to sound words out. He's getting to be a better reader, but still at a very basic level.
While Clyde is in school, Alice and I work on things at home and on Tuesday we host a preschool/playdate hour with new friends we met at the library. On Wednesday she goes and plays at the church with Margaux (my friend from childhood) and her two young boys. She loves that. She is spelling and reading very simple things, and talks about numbers a lot.
Clyde's school has a reading party every month for the children who meet the reading requirement (15 minutes 4 times a week after school). The first month they traveled to "Germany" for Oktoberfest. It was such a well planned party. Each of the 100 children there got to make a pretzel, there was an accordian band, they learned to count in German, they listened to The Musicians of Bremen, and they had a relay race with liederhosen and a stein race. There were probably 15-20 parents there, in a school with only about 100 students.
Go Donnelly Dragons!!