Monday, 24 August 2015

ms-havachat's education - Orientation

Again, Google Images has what I need to express today's chat

Today, MissM started her 6th school. It's only the second time she's started on the first day of school with everyone else. Every other time it's been mid-term which is hard going.

Every time she starts school I go thru the same feelings. It's odd to expect your child to walk into a totally unknown environment, with people she doesn't know and have fun! Fit in! Make a friend!

She didn't sleep much last night due to excitement and nerves.

We were up early and at school 20 minutes early for Orientation and as other people were walking into school, we did too.

We can't remember the last time we saw her so confident and sassy - well, we can. It was at the International School in Yokohama. As she said 'the kids are all like me, expats. We belong together' and she's right.

She also said 'starting a new school every couple of years is what I do, like you join a new International Women's Club or daddy starts a new job'

I'm guessing some of you are thinking WOW .... while others are thinking SAD.

I'm kinda in the middle of both emotions.

While I love school uniforms, there's something liberating about wearing your own clothes to school. I took a photo of her to share with her grandparents, and could not quite believe the young teenager the camera captured. She was beaming!

The lead up to Orientation has been very professional, informative and friendly.

From the moment we accepted the place at school, we've received emails from various sections of school informing us of everything we could possibly think of and then some. Neither G nor I had questions today. We're sure to have some over the next few weeks, but not today.

All the forms are online - contact, medical, school handbook including numerous policies, after school activities, sports, performing arts, permission for photography.

Like a survey, there's a completion bar which fills up til 100% has been reached. Only then can you move onto the next section.

This morning, the Head of School welcomed 79 new families (130 kids).

The Parent Teacher Ass. President welcomed us and explained the role of the PTO and invited participation on many levels. We were then introduced to key members of staff before being invited to stroll the PTO MarketPlace which included stalls promoting sports, after school activities, performing arts program, music classes, the PTO and a few other things we didn't bother to see as they were targeting middle and senior school kids.

We were given a very thick booklet WELCOME TO SCHOOL which details everything about school, the local area and living in the UK for expats. There's metric/imperial conversion charts, English vocabulary (this is usually American English to British English), places of worship, hospitals, local sports clubs, English language schools and more. It's bloody brilliant!

The PTO have a brochure with all the dates for coffee mornings, meetings and social events for the year (how organised is that?), and another brochure explaining the role of PTO and inviting participation from new parents.

After chatting to the ladies on the PTO table for a while, it was off to the classroom to meet MissM's teacher; she was ready and waiting with the kids names laminated on small pieces of board for the kids to pin where they are from on a map of the world; her laptop was open waiting for parents to enter their contact details on the Class Contact List;  MissM' stationery order was waiting in a box with her name on it, along with other kids.

We had about 45 minutes to wait before the next Orientation presentation, so we sat and chatted with a other 'new' parents. Expats have a way of just talking, of being open and connecting. MrsW arrived on Friday last week from Mexico (they are American, dad's British but not lived here for over 20 years). Still no house; frustrated by driving on the other side of the road and hubby flies back to Mexico tomorrow to finish his contract. An Aussie mum heard us chatting and joined in; they've been here 3 years and love it.

We joined a few mums/kids for lunch at Saville Gardens.

Tomorrow is the first full day of school.

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