School, At Last

June 10, 2009

So, off they went to school again. It was pretty smooth on the whole. We reached early (the given time was 11), and found their class without any trouble. It was in a state of utter chaos, occasionally reduced to momentary silence by the tinkling of a small handheld bell. There were, at a rough count, 25 moving bodies in the room, not counting adults. Adults consisted of three teachers and another mother apart from yours truly.

While the twins gradually found their feet (and hands), I watched the other kids. There were separate short sessions for reading books, singing songs, a circle game (rolling the mat), picture cards, a prayer (in Sanskrit!), and individual activity. Some interaction between kids was tolerated, but not when it became disruptive.

The facilitators (in the Montessori system, you don’t call them teachers) were quite patient and firm with the kids, but also allowed a great deal of latitude. Mrini and Tara both wanted to sit on a sort of low table, which, evidently, was not intended to be sat on. The facilitator, S-aunty, told them both not to, and tried to persuade them to sit on the mat on the ground, but didn’t force the issue.

At any rate, the twins seemed quite comfortable. They watched the other kids, picked some toys themselves, and joined in the picture card group activity. They even used the toilet twice, without incident. (To my relief, it was spanking clean, at least at that particular point in time.) When I stepped out of the room towards the later part of the session, they weren’t in the least bit put out. And, on the way back in the car, they expressed every desire to go back tomorrow. I suppose that’s the most one can hope for.

For my part, I’m eagerly waiting for their school timings to get extended to the full session: 8.30-12.30. That way, I’ll probably have to do the drive twice, drop and pick up, and come all the way home in-between, to spend two whole hours in an empty house. But this way, though only half as much driving, means that I wind up spending practically the whole morning on this school expedition, which is already highly frustrating.

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