The call finally came today!! When I saw the caller ID, I knew it was from the school. I was worried that it was the nurse, since Maggie has been coughing this week.
Nope. It was the school secretary (the one who scares me). “We have a spot for Sam in the optional program,” she said.
I was blindsided, as if I’d just been given a wedding proposal out of the blue. Eventually I gained enough wits to proclaim, “I accept!”
It’s funny how she didn’t seem so frightening now that she was finally delivering good news! Suddenly she was Mrs. Claus and the Fairy Godmother all rolled into one!
As parents, there are many things we want for our children that, for one reason or another, we just can’t provide. I’d love to surprise them with one of those giant play sets from Costco, but it’s not going to happen. They want to go to the 2014 Olympics in Russia, and that’s looking doubtful as well. Very doubtful.
But this was different. For the past year, I have desperately wanted this school program for our son. Maggie was there in the kindergarten class, but Sam spent 2nd grade on the wait list. Every day I would walk by the classroom that couldn’t be his, and wince when I saw the amazing projects stapled to the bulletin boards in the hallway. At the end of each school day I would grasp Maggie’s hand while we ran to the car (the closest parking spot was usually two blocks away) and then raced to the bus stop to pick up Sam, who attended a different school.
He was in a great school with wonderful teachers, but my heart was with the open optional program. I believe in multi-age classrooms, and love that they teach reading through great literature rather than textbooks. Instead of earning a grade he will create a portfolio, and there is a great emphasis placed upon intrinsic motivation and choice. I don’t believe it’s a program for everyone, but as an educator and a parent I know it is a good fit for both of our children.
More than anything, I believe in choice. I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all system, because even within the same family there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all children.
I’ve always been proud that my school district offers so many educational options. We run the gamut from Waldorf to ABC, language immersion to open optional, Montessori to vocational, and charter to neighborhood. This allows teachers to work in schools that align with their philosophies, and students the opportunity to enroll in schools that match their learning styles.
If they can get a spot.
We played by the rules, waited in line, and today we got our spot.
I shall head to bed full of gratitude…