One of the first buildings you come to on your drive into Blackheath is the quaint little Public School. Surrounded by lots of trees and green grass, and a large play structure, it is a welcome site and will be Leina and Cohen’s school for the next year.
The 2012 school year officially started on Monday, January 30th, and this was also the first day of school for Leina! Although a bit emotional getting ready at home, she was able to collect herself, get dressed in her uniform and walk the 20 minute up-hill walk with confidence, alongside her brothers and mom!
We were fortunate to get a peek at the school and meet both Leina and Cohen’s teachers, as well as the principal, Mr. Rudd, in advance of the first day of school. This helped to calm some nerves before the first big day!
So on arrival on the Monday, we waited patiently in the school courtyard as all of the kids arrived and met up with their friends. It is customary on the first day of school, for the students to go to their previous years classroom to catch up with their former teacher, and to talk about their summer holiday. After about half an hour of visiting in the old classroom, then the bell rings, and the students proceed to the hall where they are all seated and wait for the teachers to read out the list of students in the new classes.
So Leina, Cohen and Elijah and I went to the hall and waited in the chairs along the wall for Leina’s teacher to call her name. Leina stood in line with the others in Year 2 when her name was called, and then they all marched like “honey ants” to their new classroom with their teacher, Ms. Balaam. Leina is in what they call a “composite” class with 25 students in both Year 1 and Year 2.
At the end of Leina’s first day, the boys and I met Leina in the courtyard and it was readily apparent that Leina was happy to have her first day under her belt!
Tuesday was day 2 for Leina, and the highly anticipated day 1 for Cohen! Cohen who is much more affable when it comes to new experiences, took the whole morning in stride. Leina on the other hand was having second day jitters! She had found the first day a bit overwhelming and was unsure and a bit uncomfortable with all of the attention she had received that first day. She expressed an interest in being matched with one buddy and so she insisted a note be written to her teacher with this request.
Once the note had been written, and lunches had been packed, and a visit to the park on the way home had been promised, the two kids were dressed and ready to get on with their school day!
Once Leina proceeded to her class on day 2, then it was time to take Cohen around to the Kindergarten courtyard to await the welcome and roll call for his class. Ms. Drake called Cohen’s name last (this usually happens when your last name starts with a ‘W’!), and he was off! Parents were welcomed into the kindergarten room to help the kids get settled and Cohen had no problems finding a seat and sitting down to draw on a dry-erase board! “Been there, done that” kind of attitude – he’s had the advantage of 5 months of Kindergarten back home in Canada under his belt! The nice thing is this is 5 year old “kindie”, so he doesn’t stick out, height-wise, as much as he did in junior kindergarten back home.
The teacher was amazed that the first thing he did when he sat down at the board was to print his name! Well done big guy!
At the end of the day both kids were excited to buy freezies at the canteen in the courtyard, and share the details from their school day!
So they have their first week under their belts now, but the week has not been without lots of tears (namely Leina, but some from Mommy as well!). It’ll take a while to adjust to the new school, new teachers, new classmates, new language, and new routine. So we are all trying to be patient and optimistic!
We are very impressed with Blackheath Public – the staff and volunteers, and the feeling of inclusion that is demonstrated here. We are looking forward to a good school year for both kids!