Today my son says goodbye to the elementary school he’s been in for two years. Today is his last day there, and next year he’ll go somewhere else to finish out his elementary years. It’s a bit bittersweet for me to see him growing up and facing challenges and learning about himself, and this is just another of those moments.
You might be like me and have to deal with the school system changing the zoning for your neighborhood next fall. My family found out our neighborhood had been rezoned to the new Mill Creek Elementary School starting this coming fall, and it was initially a difficult pill to swallow. We moved to our current home with an eye to keeping our son in the same school he’d started kindergarten in and also to be closer to our parents. We never expected our neighborhood, located so close to our current school, would be zoned for a new one within a year of our move.
But I suppose that’s just how things play out sometimes, and while I deal with my own feelings about it, I’m also pushing forward and trying to make sure we all see the positives of being in a new school.
Before I dive into the positives, I want to share the ways our current school has really shaped us as a family. My sweet oldest child is cautious and friendly and outgoing, and I worried when he entered kindergarten how he’d do in a school setting. Within days of starting kindergarten, he began to make friends and come home telling me all about what he was learning and how much fun he was having. He bragged on his teacher and eagerly shared all about his encore classes.
I loved watching him blossom and begin to grow. He became just a little more confident with each positive experience. He enjoyed field trips and fun days and had a blast sharing his moments with me.
Then he went to first grade, and he continued to grow and change. His love of reading flourished, his handwriting improved (a little), and he brought home math papers with check marks. It was all the things a parent wants to see.
When we first discussed the change for next year and the chance to go to a new school, he was apprehensive. Would he still get to see his friends? I don’t know, I told him. Perhaps some of them will be rezoned like we are and you’ll see them there. Would his teachers be there? Again, I don’t know, but maybe some of them will move to the new school. Of course, he’d be having a different teacher for second grade anyway.
He’s had other questions. He wondered about what bus he would ride. I wonder that, too. He wanted to know what the playground will look like. To be honest, I don’t know, but I hope it’s lots of fun and has plenty of slides.
Recently we drove by the build site – or as close as we could get to it – and pointed out the construction to him. He got excited and asked if we could drive closer.
I’m glad he’ll have the chance to be the first in a totally new school, even if it means he leaves behind beloved friends and teachers and experiences. I’m glad he’ll get to make new memories there and enjoy the fresh paint and new desks and all the differences that make Mill Creek its own school. I’m glad to know that his first grade teacher will actually be moving there to teach, so he’ll have a familiar face around if he gets nervous in the first few days or weeks.
Change is hard. It can be scary.
It can be daunting at any age, but it can be especially hard on children. While I wouldn’t have asked for this change and didn’t want it to happen, I hope that by our constant encouragement, open communication, and support my son will be confident going into the next school year at a totally new school. Maybe he’ll be excited about the opportunity by the time summer ends, and he’ll be an example to us of how to handle change. Or maybe he’ll be nervous and need extra affection as he navigates new halls. Either way, it’ll be okay, and he’ll be stronger and hopefully more confident for tackling the change.