Today is the first day of a new school for B. An opportunity for a transfer arose over winter break, and after much discussion and debate, we took it. When we told B that she would be attending this new school, she demanded I drive her there immediately! She's excited and hopeful, and I'm relieved. In fact, the night after I filed her enrollment paperwork, I went to bed at 7 p.m. and slept 12 hours. My whole body was at rest after months of tense worrying about my girl.
After observing the classroom and talking with other families, Kris and I feel confident that this school matches B's learning style and personality much better than her old school did. She's a perfectionist, so the constant testing and competitive nature of the old curriculum left her feeling stupid. There were charts with kids' names on the walls showing their progress and behavior, and B felt that if she wasn't at the very top of the chart, she had failed... no matter how much her teacher and I tried to convince her otherwise. The new school doesn't use charts or testing, but helps kids develop their own internal sense of worth and accomplishment, as well as a love of learning. I think at this critical young age, that's the most important goal of school -- to help kids fall in love with learning, to foster that internal drive to explore and problem solve. Testing and competition will come later.
It was sad to say goodbye to her teacher, whom B adored, but everyone was supportive of our decision, which made it easier. One thing we learned in moving out-of-state a few years ago: Your friends are not limited by distance or location. You can stay connected to the people you care about. B knows that she can visit the wonderful people at her old school anytime, and that new friends await her wherever she goes.