So almost a year ago, we started looking into applying for the magnet school program here in St. Louis. As the St. Louis Public School System isn’t exactly the best in the area (they just achieved state accreditation again, after 5 years without it), we were wary of considering that option for Meg’s education, but the magnet schools are accredited individually and all feed in to each other: once you get into one of them, you stay in the system, and your siblings are grand-fathered in. Once you turn 3, you can enter into a lottery for a limited number of slots at various schools across the city.
To be honest, the whole process was a bit difficult to navigate, as the web sites for each school are separate from one another, each with their own procedures, etc. Still, Brooke took care of the application to the magnet program and we entered Meg in the lottery. She ended up getting in on the first try, getting one of 24 spots at her school, Mullanphy Investigative Learning Center. This school is located near the St. Louis Botanical Gardens, which is about 10-15 min from our house, and halfway between our house and Washington University, where I work. It also happens to be a “science-oriented” school, so believe you me, I’m all for it.
Anyway, Meg has been pretty apprehensive about this. For the past few weeks, she’s had trouble being left at her old school in the mornings, as she could tell things were changing pretty soon. She liked her old daycare quite a bit and had friends there, so it’s understandable that, even at age 3, she’d be pretty worried about starting in a new place with new people. Still, we continued to bring it up so she’d be constantly reminded the change was coming. We went and met her new teachers last week twice, so she was at least introduced to these new people she’d be seeing every day.
Monday was still pretty difficult, though. To be fair, after I left her there, everything was fine and her teachers said she did a great job, raising her hand to ask questions, laying on her mat at nap time, etc. But the act of actually leaving her there was the most difficult part. Let’s just say there was a good deal of screaming and hyperventilating to deal with that morning. The past few days, things have improved somewhat, though there are still quite a few tears as I leave in the mornings. I’ve gotten a bit better about breaking away quickly, rather than lingering too long, allowing her to keep me there. After a few weeks, I’m sure things will get better, but for now, it’s still pretty tough.
At the very least, I hope this school ends up making life easier once we get to Kindergarten. This way, it won’t be nearly as much of a shift for her, as she’s essentially attending elementary school now, two years early (the preschool is housed in the elementary school, though the different age groups are separated for lunch time, recess, etc.). She’s getting used to the routine, the set times for activities, the different subjects, and most of all, the yearly change in teachers and classmates. She’d been at the same daycare with many of the same teachers and the same kids since we moved here, so while there was obviously some turn-over, much of the experience remained the same. This new school will be much more like “the real thing,” so hopefully that helps her transition even better each year.
But it’s hard to watch how quickly she’s growing up! In some ways, I don’t think my 3-year-old should be wearing a school uniform, wearing a backpack, and taking her lunch to school already.
I guess I’d better get used to that, too. :-)