Last week my son moved up from the Junior to Senior Montessori classroom. These spiders for Halloween were among some of the last art projects he did before the move. I am endlessly fascinated by 1) how the teachers manage to get the toddlers to do such neat work and 2) how his hands are growing.
Senior Montessori is a big change. There are more formal lessons in a classroom like setting. They do ballet dancing once a week. They go swimming every other week. They need to learn how to put on their own clothes when changing. There’s a lot less hand holding all around.
The first day last week was hard. I have discovered that while Hawkeye has always been easy with the partial transitions, the first full day of being dropped off in a new classroom is when he really understands that the change is permanent. He was distraught. However he quickly settled in once I left and he was distracted by the new toys and the new activities.
The second, third, and fourth days he was clingy and quiet at drop offs. Uncertain, with his chin quivering slightly at the thought of me leaving. But he didn’t cry. The Senior Montessori classrooms are on the top floor at the front of the building, and many parents develop a routine when their children reach that level of leaving the creche and turning around in the parking lot to wave at their kids waiting in the upstairs window. This was what Hawkeye clung to in the first week. “Mommy has to wave when she’s leaving”. So I rush downstairs (that’s why this photo is blurry – I couldn’t take the time to photograph it carefully as he was waiting for me!) and wave and blow kisses to him.
I do believe that he is really enjoying it. Whereas before he was relatively silent coming home he is now full of stories about what he’s doing because he is able to articulate more ideas. He’s learning a lot of new things. But it’s hard on him and it’s disrupting his sleep (which is disrupting our sleep) and I know that it will take him a while to really settle down into the new routine. He had gotten used to being the big kid in his classroom, bossing the younger kids around. Now he’s back to being one of the younger kids again and he has to rebuild his confidence.
It’s exciting and terrifying and I’m glad he has two years almost in this place before we have to handle the next big transition – Big School!