Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The First Day of School

Monday dawned cold, rainy and breezy.  We had been in England for three weeks and the weather had been absolutely beautiful.  Sunny, mild temperatures, and little to no rain.  So it only goes to figure that the first day we have to walk to school we need to wear raincoats with fleece jackets under them.  Umbrellas this morning weren’t an option – they would have blown away in the wind.

Taking off for school.  Pretty gloomy out.

The girls jumped out of bed so very excited to be off to their new school.  We were all getting some serious cabin fever being at home all day, every day in this tiny little village with no car for the past two weeks, so school was an exciting change.  We had breakfast and before I was even finished with mine, Ellie and Leah were upstairs getting their uniforms on.  I didn’t even have to tell them to get dressed or hurry up once!  And they look so darn cute in their uniforms.

Eric stayed home from work that morning so we all walked to school together.  They were excited on the walk to school, but once we got there, they both suddenly looked extremely scared, especially Leah.  The school secretary whisked them off to their classrooms, all the other kids were staring at them, and we barely had a chance to say goodbye.  After looking in on Ellie's class, we stopped into Leah's because we hadn't met her teacher yet.  Leah looked like a deer in headlights, very close to tears.  Luckily, there was a very kind and friendly teacher's helper in the classroom.  She noticed Leah looked very bewildered by the whole thing and took her hand and said she could stay by her until she got settled into the classroom.  And then we left, which was VERY hard.  I had never seen either of them looking so scared in their lives.  They’re my babies and I wanted to stay and comfort them, but they need to learn to fly on their own so out the door I went.  As Eric and I walked out the front door of the school to walk home, a lady came riding a horse right down the street through town.  We are definitely not in Indiana anymore. 

I watched the clock all day long waiting for it to be time to walk back to school to pick them up, and I was very nervous about how they would react.  Would they say they hate their new school and never want to go back?  Would the other kids make fun of them because they talk funny?  Would they have to sit by themselves at lunch because they don’t have any friends?  And the correct answer is -  none of the above.  I walked up to the back of the school (their classrooms have doors going directly outside and that is where we pick them up) and Ellie wanders out of her classroom first deep in conversation with a little blonde girl.  When she sees me, she gets a big smile on her face and says, “This is my friend Violet.”  As I turn to Leah’s class, out the door she comes trying to contain the smile that wants to burst onto her face.  I asked her how her first day of school went and she responds, “It was great!” 

In the end, I had nothing to worry about.  They both love their new school, love wearing uniforms each day and have become fast friends with all the little girls in their classrooms (haven’t heard much mention of any of the boys yet).  Each morning, we enter the school yard to a chorus of “Hello Ellie,” which is the CUTEST THING EVER when said by a little girl with an adorable English accent.   And after school, they come out of their classrooms with huge smiles plastered on their faces.  They both continue to amaze me with their courage and adaptability.  I mean holy smokes Batman, we just uprooted them from everything and everyone they know and moved them almost 4,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to a foreign country and plopped them down into a new school where they don't know soul - and they don't skip a beat.  Eric and I are truly blessed. 

A little about their new school:  It is tiny!  There are around 60 students in grades reception (sort of like kindergarten except they start at 4 years old) through Year 6.  Leah is in Year 2 and Ellie is in Year 5 so they’ll both stay in this school the entire time we are here.  Even though it's small, their school really is set up a lot like our schools in the US.  There are only 3 classrooms and one extra common space with some tables in it where they do special instruction.  Not sure if there's a library.  There were some book shelved in the hallway so maybe that is the library???  The classrooms were set up very similar to their classrooms in Indiana, but smaller and more crowded (everything is smaller here).  Leah is in Class 1 which is Reception through Year 2, and Ellie is in Class 3 which is Years 5 and 6.  Each classroom has a teacher and a helper. 

At the front of the school is a larger room with a higher ceiling where they eat lunch, have PE and school assemblies.  It's rather old, but I suspect that is the original school and the rest has been added on.  In the back is a nice playground area, and they even have a pond.  They go outside for a bit of fresh air 3 times a day, rain or shine.  For lunch today they are having Beef Bolognaise over spaghetti, sweetcorn and peas, mixed rainbow salad, garlic bread, and steamed pineapple upside down pudding (that means cake here) with custard, all made my a little old lady right at the school.  This is very different from the lunch menu back in Indiana (no Chicken Hip Dippers on the menu here).  All the kids 8 and under get free school lunches in England, so Leah usually takes the school lunch.  Ellie still likes to bring her lunch from home but takes the school lunch once a week, and so far, the school lunch has received good reviews.    
The above was written a couple weeks ago when the girls actually started school.  They went to school for exactly 1 week and then had a week off for fall break, so as of today, they haven't even been in school over here for 2 full weeks yet.  I’ve come to love our walks to school in the morning, no matter the weather.  It would be easy to just curl up on the couch with a book and hot cup of tea after everyone else has left the house for the day, but having to go outside each and every morning is very refreshing and gets you going for the day.  And it’s a beautiful walk through the village.  So today, I leave you with a few pictures from our morning walk to school.  Cheerio!

The beautiful old church just down the street from our house.
Stone walls everywhere.
Many houses have plaques on them like this.
Nastarium - I LOVE that this is a perennial here!
Almost November and there are still lots of flowers blooming here.
Beautiful fall berries.

1 comment:

  1. The girls are so cute in those uniforms! Taylor and I enjoy the pictures of the landscaping and cool steps, really is different than here.