Last night was Curriculum Night at my kids’ school.  It’s a big, inner-city Toronto school with over 650 kids.  I grew up in small town in the Maritimes, and my school experience was nothing like this.  I am kind of freaked out by the largeness of everything in my kids’ life, especially the school.

But, this past week, I’ve realised that caring and compassionate people inhabit even the biggest, busiest schools. Last evening’s event began with a speech from the principal, who is awesome.  An example of his awesomeness: last week, my son – still suffering from the getting-used-to-Grade One blues – showed up in the office sobbing. 

This was the third time this had happened in one week and I was, needless to say, highly distressed.  My happy, confident kid was complaining about bullies, no friends in the lunch room and general sadness at school.  The principal, upon seeing his state of distress, took him outside and….played soccer with him! Who does that?  Awesome.

I knew this because the two fabulous women who run the school office called to tell me.  They wanted to inform me about what was going on, and also tell me that the principal was on it.  Once again, great communication, pro-active school staff. Awesome.

Then, my son’s teacher called me to discuss my boy’s sadness.  She shed light on some things I didn’t completely understand (like how really crazy and loud it really is in the cafeteria).  She reassured me in the most earnest way possible that not only would she make every effort to ensure the Boy’s happiness at school, she would be in constant touch with me via email and notes to encourage open lines of communication between home and school.  Her kindness and efforts moved me to tears.  Wow.

It’s been two days with no tears.  The Boy seems to be having more fun and to have a couple of buddies whose names keep popping up in conversation.  At the end of the day, he’s a sensitive guy who takes time to adjust to change.  That’s okay. At least I know there’s a whole team of fantastic professionals sharing in this task of easing him into school life.

  • Amreen

    I didn’t know what to expect when my kids started elementary school. I have been very pleasantly surprised by the loving, nurturing environment. I didn’t expect Grade One to be such a huge transition, especially after my son already had completed kindergarten in the same school. I’m relieved to hear that he’s not the only one. They’re still babies, aren’t they? At the end of the day, they’d rather be home with their mum. I can still relate to that.

  • Kath

    Awesome school, Amreen. We are lucky with our school, too. It makes a world of difference when you’re confident your children are in a caring, positive environment with professionals, doesn’t it?
    And I hear you about the Grade One adjustment – we’re going through that here, too. And I have to tell you: I don’t even remember it with my older daughter, so it will fade to obscurity in the end. This too shall pass, as my Mom was wont to say.

  • Beck

    Poor little guy. It sounds like he is at a GREAT school. Good teachers, teachers who actually like kids – that makes such a big difference.

  • LoriD

    That does sound like a great school. It’s very comforting to know that everyone, from the teacher to the principal and office staff, seems to operate under the same caring philosophy. I’m glad everything seems to be settling down for your son.

  • Jen

    We too have a little one coping with the mammoth adjustment to grade 1. Ours has manifested in temper tantrums at home but, thanks to your post, I see that there is likely more to this than just fatigue and frustration.
    What an amazing school. You and your kids are very lucky!

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