It’s time. It has taken me the better part of this year to come to terms with Nathan leaving the nest to begin school part time, but it is time. I will still provide the same nurturing environment that we call home, but the enrichment of learning Deutsch and the daily, social interaction with other children are things that I can not provide. Nathan is a people person. He loves being with people, especially other kids. He needs to be with other kids more than his mom, right? My heart has been telling me otherwise…until now.
The decision to enroll Nathan in our local German kindergarten came early this year. The choice seemed to come easy for Brad, but I was a bit skeptical. Not because I don’t trust the kindergarten to take good care of him, but because I don’t trust the kindergarten to provide the care that I give him. And honestly, they won’t. But that is okay, because that is not the goal of school. After much prayer and a few “transition” days, I finally feel at ease sending Nathan to German kindergarten.
In our region (and I would imagine much of Germany), German kindergarten begins at three years of age. Children will typically stay with the same group of children and teacher until six years of age. At age six, they will begin primary school. Primary school is where academics begin. The school years before primary are play-based.
“Transition” days are exactly that. They are days in which the mom and child will spend a few hours together in the kindergarten to help the child acclimate to everything–new people, environment, expectations, social rules, and the big one for us…a new language. I really appreciate that the school offers this support for families. It has been so important for us, especially since we are not natives to this country. I also appreciate that they are conscientious of the strong bond that exists between mother and child. We just completed our third and final day today. Tomorrow will be Nathan’s official first day without me. Because of these transition days, I have no doubt that my absence won’t be an issue.
Here is how are transition days were spent…
On Day 1, our time was spent in gymnastics. Nathan played hard and had a great time until he fell and bumped his head at the end of class. He then wanted to go home. I think he was many things–hot, tired, thirsty, hungry and a bit embarrassed. So, we headed home.
On Day 2, he was excited to return. We spent our time between the rooms that were open that morning–art and pretend play. In art, Nathan had the opportunity to cut with scissors (his first experience). He then enjoyed tea time with some cute little girls in the playhouse. We ended our time on the playground, where Nathan started crying because he didn’t want to leave. Although I didn’t enjoy having to negotiate with him so we could leave, I was happy that he wanted to stay.
Today (Day 3), Nathan spent majority of his time without me. While he was playing and cutting with scissors (he now has a “thing” for cutting), I was able to talk with some of the teachers and attempted to read the information board. We ended our time on the playground, where Nathan enjoyed his favorite outdoor activity–digging.
Here are some pictures from our three transition days…