From time to time, I’ve bragged on Josh’s school. I try not to, because I don’t want to be one of those moms… “Oh, OUR school is the best! Oh, MY kid is tops!” But sometimes, you have to toot your horn. This is one of those times. I really believe that if all schools operated this way, we’d have a lot fewer problems with the educational system in this country.
We celebrate the first day of school. We don’t just send our kids off on that first day and think “whew, that’s done, now I can get on with my day.” We meet them there and give them a sendoff, reinforcing to each and every kid that we are a family – kids, teachers, principal, parents. We’re all in this together, kids… so go and do good!
The day starts outside the school… everyone – students, teachers, and parents – is gathered at the doors:
Our enthusiastic music teacher welcomes the kids to school, tells them that it’s going to be a wonderful year, and selects the groups by class to enter the school… “Kindergartners!!” she’ll holler. Everyone cheers as she rings her bells, and the Kindergartners enter the school amid the bedlam. This goes on through grade 7. The eight graders get a bit of a pause, and a little extra recognition, being the Big Guys of the school… but then they get the bell-ringing and cheering, too…
After all the singing, praying, and speechifying (all this has taken maybe a half hour), the parents leave the gym, while the kids remain seated. Us parents have one more Rah-Rah up our sleeves.
Yep, we make the kids (and the teachers) “run the gauntlet”… We stand on either side of the hallway leading away from the gym, and make an arch out of our joined hands. As the kids come out of the gym and head to their classrooms, there’s a lot of cheering and hooting and high-fiving and carrying on by the parents, as we cheer our kids on to another year of school. And even the most jaded of the “old kids” love it.
We truly are a family at this school. We love the kids – not just our own, all of them. I truly believe that each parent sees each kid as his or her “own”. We also believe that doing silliness like this not only makes for students who look forward to going to school, but makes for an atmosphere where the kids know they can come to any one of us, at any time, for anything.