Tonight was my very last parent meeting at the school that Eloise and Iris both attend. Iris has been there for two years and Eloise for one. It was an interesting meeting. Hot-button issues came up that we all tried to hash out, mostly without anyone saying what they really wanted to say, I think. The other part of the meeting was that the two teachers, one for Eloise's program and one for Iris's, presented us all with photos of our kids from their time at the school. Since it is such a tiny school-- maybe 13 families total between the two programs-- we all got to go around and share thoughts on our child's, an our own, growth during our time there. This is when we all got a little blubbery.
Iris is just about five and has spent two years at this school, that's a huge chunk of her life. When she first started I thought I had found a nice little school, not thinking too mch about the impact that it could have on our lives. We had left a school that had very little support and wasn't at all a good fit for our family, so the best I was hoping for at that point was a school I didn't hate that had parents I actually liked. I had NO idea. For the first year I actually didn't feel all that connected to the other families, but I still felt a sense of fitting in there. Like it was the right place for us. I connected well with the teacher and the director and had tons of support from both of them, so it was fine. Most of our issues with Iris were outside of school-- especially her relationship with her sister.
The following year, though, which was this past one, was really intense. The year got progressively more difficult for Iris at school. She had alot of issues with some of the other kids at school and kid's seemed to get more intense. We went through a hard struggle for a while this past late winter/early spring where Iris was refusing to go to school, freaked out when she got there, it was really hard. I thought for a while that maybe we needed to pull her out, but never was too serious about it. I am glad that idea never took flight, because the issues have worked out and she's been doing great now that the year is winding down. We've made some great friends there, as well. I had finally figured out how to set up playdates and all that good stuff after, oh, almost two years!
Eloise, on the other hand, has done nothing but absolutely grow and blossom in her once a week program. At first she had to have a buddy with her because she would hit kids, push kids, pull hair, basically be a huge bully. They worked and worked with her and eventually she grew out of it. It's been a while since I have gotten a report of a day where she has hurt someone else, which is very exciting. She has really delighted her teacher and the other parents. Everyone has stories about the funny things they have witnessed Eloise do! Even tonight at the meeting when we went around the table, several parents mentioned Eloise in their memories of their own child in school. There are definitely feelings of sadness that they won't have her at the school next year, which is soooo sweet to hear.
We're so incredibly lucky that we've had this school for two years, to help guide our children through some tough stuff. I feel pretty sad to be leaving this community, but I do keep reminding myself of the amazing school we're going to be joining. It's good change. Hard, but good. Sigh.