Today was the day; the day that my girls headed back to school. Malia started Grade 3 today and Joelle started Grade 5.
Something new for the girls this year is that they are in separate schools! As our community has been growing so wildly, the elementary school has been bursting at the seams. As a result, the Grade 7-12 school changed to a Grade 6-12 school for the past two years, and this year is the first year where it's a Grade 5-12 school.
I think this will be very good for these two sisters. Malia has had a habit of spending most of her recesses with Joelle and her friends, rather than spending enough time with the friends in her own grade. I believe this has resulted in Malia making fewer close friends than what otherwise could be. And Joelle doesn't always like her little sister hanging around either, of course. ;)
So Malia will learn some new-found independence and Joelle will have some freedom!
The other change is that because of being in different schools, they will no longer ride the bus together. Joelle's school is closer than the elementary school, meaning that she is no longer a bus student but has to walk. It's about a 15 minute walk and so far she's excited about it...but I'm sure in the winter months, she'll change her tune!
Some people are wondering how I feel about Joelle going to the "high school." And yes, at first I had some reservations - but as time went on, I felt like my reservations were forced. Like I felt that I should be feeling as upset/anxious/worried about it as most of the other parents...when really, I don't. The school does a great job of keeping the younger grades separate from the high school students - different lunch breaks, and even a different departure time at the end of the day. And the Grades 5 & 6 students are also in huts - or at least will be when they are finished being constructed (meanwhile they are having classes in the church basement right next to the school) which means that they will only be in the actual school building for gym, music & library (or to use the bathroom).
And really, my daughter is not in the "high school"...she's in the middle school/high school. The school is taking the transition seriously and I have no doubt that my daughter is in very capable hands and that they are doing their best to make this a positive experience for all of the kids. Afterall, it's not just my child being thrown into a Grade 7-12 atmosphere...it's two whole GRADES of 5&6'ers being added to an already existing school. They are not being forced to be high school students, but rather they are being introduced to a new environment that is being tailored to suit their age as best as possible.
When all is said and done - I'm always excited to start a new school year (although I wish time would stop at the end of October and fast-forward to April to avoid the worst of the germ-infested months). I love watching my girls grow and change and learn as each new year goes on. Day #1 was a good experience for both of them...now I just hope the rest of the year continues on in the same fashion!