Monday, August 18, 2008

The First Day of School

Children came with their mothers and fathers, their younger and older brothers and sisters, their grandparents, their aunts and uncles - they came with all their family as live music played in the lobby and families were met by Indiana Jones-type tour guides. They had their pictures taken before they waved good-by to enter their new classroom for the new year. Just like each year, we began the day with a short welcome from the Principal over WCCE, our in-house television station. Next first graders in each classroom practiced the "entering the room" routines - where to put their lunchbox or lunch money, where to put their take-home folder, where to put their backpack and what to do when they were unpacked before the day starts. After practicing, it was off to an assembly.

Each year the children have a "wow" about the theme with the intention of giving them something wonderful to talk to mom and dad about at the end of the day. Parents always ask, "How was your first day?" and we want children to have an excited list of things that they saw and did. This year the students heard Bruce Junek talk about his trip around the world on a bicycle for two years. His breathtaking pictures took us through Hawaii with its breathtaking coasts and volcanoes; Fuji where we saw penguins; New Zealand and beautiful Australia where we saw pictures of kangaroos, koalas, kookaburras, wild parrots, the outback, gorgeous butterflies, drawings by the Aborigines inside caves and a single rock miles high and wide; to the rain forest of Bali and exotic Indonesia; to Java where we saw orangutans, bats, and an albino peacock; to Malaysia and Thailand (have you ever eaten fried grasshoppers?) to the mountaintop of Mt. Everest; to India and Tibet with elephants and rhinos; through the pyramids of Egypt and through Germany, England, and Israel - 14,000 miles in two years. What an amazing way to open our new adventure!

We returned to learn the routines of coming to the carpet as a group, lining up, getting through lunch and outside play. Each child received a themed-shirt for a class picture that will be sent home today and worn school-wide tomorrow. After tomorrow Fridays become spirit days and children are encouraged to wear their themed shirts. A little exploration in Math in the afternoon and before you know it, the day was coming to a close. It really was a WONDERFUL first day. One of our goals is "to make their day" so each child is anxious and excited about returning to school tomorrow! From the smiles leaving the building, I think we succeeded!

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