Next fall, Pete moves from the Primary classroom she's been in for 2 years to a Lower Elementary classroom that will hopefully be her class for the next 3 years. Last night, Husbandguy and I went to a meeting with the lower el teachers all about the lower el classroom and what it will be like for our Pete (and other kindergartners) to be in the first grade. It was Very Informative. I am Super Excited. We had the chance to meet the teachers and look at some of the activities Pete will be working with and hear about what the classroom is typically like on a normal day.
The teachers seem wonderful. They are all very excited about their classroom communities and seem to have good senses of humor. They seemed more nurturing than Pete's current teacher, which is a good thing. We don't get a real say in which teacher Pete will have, and I'm totally cool with that because the principal knows them better than I do and it's her job to put the right student with the right teacher. But she encourages us to send her a note about our child to help her make the right choice for them, and you better believe she's getting one from me.
Pete will use a lot of the same tools in lower el that she used in primary, but in more expansive ways. Like right now, when she uses the Hundred Board, it is strictly for linear counting (1, 2, 3,...98, 99, 100). She has counted to 1600, 1-100 at a time, in the 2 years she's been in this class. That is really cool. How surprised is she going to be when her teacher next year shows her all the other cool stuff you can do with the Hundred Board, like what-number-is-missing?-type stuff and I don't know what else! I'm excited. I hope she will be too.
The main concern that a lot of the other parents who were there last night have about the lower el classes was the noise level. Apparently it's higher in the lower el class than in the "Peaceful Primary Classroom." We're not worried. Pete's class this year has been far from peaceful, and I didn't think it was particularly peaceful last year either. They got off to a bad start this year. Things got better once they moved a couple of kids to other classes and hired an assistant, but high-noise-level is not something new for Pete. The difference next year will be, it sounds, that her teacher will be expecting it and will know better how to regulate it. Also, apparently, the "hum" or "chatter" is more productive than disruptive; the students are talking about their work and about current events and sharing experiences related to their work, for the most part. I've got to say that the glimpses I've had into lower el classes from the hallway don't cause me any great concern. They actually make me hopeful.
Apparently this post is about me... I'm looking forward to next fall. I'm looking forward to the change (I'm looking forward to it so much that, in 2 years when Lulu starts there, I'm going to specifically request that she be placed with a teacher other than Pete's current teacher - the policy is to place siblings with the same teacher as long as the first sibling has moved up and the parents don't specifically request otherwise, which I'll be doing - but that's another post).
Let me talk to Pete, and then I'll tell you what she's thinking too.