Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back to School Without Food Allergies

So, Michael and Natalie started Kindergarten last week. They love it - I am totally and completely confused. I thought I had some sort of education - in fact I spent way too much time in school working on anything from a Bachelors Degree, to a Masters, to a Juris Doctorate, but for the life of me I can not figure out how the heck kindergarten works. Maybe the fact that I did not do much with any of these degrees, and now hang out at home amusing myself with my witty blog explains some of my confusion. In this case, I am ok with my confusion, since Michael and Natalie have no food allergies, and are having a great time.

First off, let me say the school itself is absolutely wonderful. The twins are in a Spanish Immersion program where they learn Spanish as an integral part of their schooling. Most of their kindergarten day takes place primarily in Spanish, and the poor teacher has to pretty much act out everything to get the english speaking kids to understand. It is a really amazing program, and is very well respected in our area. In case you are interested in more info, here is a link about it on my favorite site wikipedia.

For the first day of school, I was thankfully able to figure out where to drop everyone off and pick them up. I even remembered the correct time to pick them up at. The day before the first day of school I made the unfortunate discovery that there is a snack that every child brings from home. Of course I interrogated the teachers on how the snack worked, and discovered it was eaten outdoors if the weather was ok, but if not, it was eaten indoors. I was taken off guard by the snack. They are at school for a little over three hours - do they really need a snack. It seems that food is everywhere. Michael is in a soccer league, and I offered to bring the snack for the first game (I don't know why you need a snack at a game, but ok), only to have a mother call me the day before to remind me I needed two snacks, one for half time, and one for after the game.

Then after the first day of school there was a meeting for the parents. The kids wander all over the school, from extra English classes, to music class, to the playground in different groups at different times with different teachers. Of course I thought, how in the world does the epi-pen go with Conor to all these different places, and where in the world are all these different places. I did discover however that there does not appear to be any school nurse there.

Then there is this jargon. Sure I had heard of PTA, but here there is also SIPA (spanish immersion parent association), room mothers, volunteers, volunteer aides, , party planners, fundraisers and liaisons. I just want to hang out in the classroom a couple of times a month, and I have absolutely no clue how to do that.

So, it is almost time for week two, and I am so so so happy I have Michael and Natalie to test out the waters and figure out how this kindergarten thing works. For all of you sending your food allergic children to school, you are my hero's. I can not imagine next year when it is time for Conor to go, but at least I will hopefully have figured a few things out, and be a bit more prepared.


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