Bee started kindergarten just this Monday. I have very mixed feelings about this as it was not an easy task picking out a school for her. Sparky and I both thought long and hard about it, but ended up choosing her charter school based on the fact that it started one week later than the others (more summer for us) and it starts at 7:50 a.m. vs. 7:45 a.m. To a little girl who loves to sleep and is not much of a morning person, five extra minutes in the morning are huge.
The other things I like about her new school is that besides having an ambitious academic program (she has homework everyday, even on the weekends) the emphasis is on dance. Which seems like the perfect thing for a little five year old. Each day, after the rigors of learning math and reading skills, the children get to exercise and move around and dance. It just seems like a good, healthy thing for them to do each day. So that is definitely a plus. Also, they are required to wear uniforms. Sparky and I like uniforms. In fact, I would wear one myself if I could. But since I’m not in a profession that requires one, it seems kind of weird.
We plan on being very involved in her schooling, which I think is important; the parents at her new school must volunteer for at least 15 hours a year. The parents all seem enthusiastic, the teachers are nice, and the principal is very friendly and knows all the kids by name. My misgivings, though, come from a campus that is all asphalt and concrete. There’s no grass, and the few trees are trapped in planters and look sad. In short, it’s very much of an inner city type of place, and seems particularly wrong in verdant Echo Park. The kindergarten shares this campus with another separate elementary school that has been around forever. They have tried to beautify the grounds with large pots full of plants, and maybe when these plants get bigger and fill out the place will look nicer.
But aesthetics seem like they should be a minor thing. We wanted to send our Bee to a school in our neighborhood, and not ship her off to some fancy private school that we couldn’t afford. What we hope for is that she gets a good education, and that she’s as happy and well adjusted as can be as she begins her school journey that will last for the next seventeen to twenty years. (The twenty years would depend upon whether or not she goes to grad school. Although I don’t think you need a degree to be a fairy, and I know you don’t need one to be a rock and roll singer, so the twenty years of schooling could be a moot point.) And if it really blows there we can always enroll her somewhere else for first grade. In the grand scheme of things as Sparky says, “It’s just kindergarten.”