Parent/teacher conferences were this week for each of the boys. With my return to college this semester, there hasn't been an opportunity yet for me to volunteer in either of their classes, so we were eager to meet with their teachers and hear about how and what they're doing in school.
We've gone to something like five conferences for Zach before, so we thought we knew what the meeting would look like. We were were blown away. So much so that I was nearly speechless! (Doesn't happen often.) First grade is an entirely different world than kindergarten. With the basics under their belt, learning is really taking of. Zachary is quickly moving through his reading and spelling words, and progressing through reading levels at a rate that we hadn't realized. With the team approach they are able to use - four first grade teachers / all day school - students are able to be grouped with kids from all classes, and teachers and parent volunteers together assess progress in order for students to move to the next level at the rate they are individually learning. It is awesome!
His teacher is amazing. She's a former middle school math teacher and is driven to teach each individual student as much as they are individually capable of learning. It is just so exciting to have a teacher who seems to have extra hours in her day - enough to reach and challenge each student individually as well as the class as a whole. Wow.
Luke goes to school at the same place Zach did, so we thought for sure we knew what the drill was there. We do know the curriculum, staff and daily routine well, but his teacher is new this year. Much like Zach's teacher, she is a former elementary school teacher and is very passionate about kindergarten readiness. Since our preschool is not a heavy academic / worksheet-oriented school, I was pleasantly surprised at how much she has stretched Luke - assessing his individual abilities and forming a game plan of where to go next.
There is a great deal of free exploration and expression at Luke's school - with an academic element in everything they do - but I would say their main emphasis at age 3/4 is on friendship, character and Jesus. In our household those honestly trump academic excellence every time! You can be the next Bill Gates, but if you're dishonest and far from God, what's the point? So... We love our preschool. It's the perfect partner in forming loving, kind, honest little people.
Both of the boys received high praise as role models. They are easy going, obedient, energetic, likable, helpful, honest, engaged, kind, trustworthy, responsible guys. They are also unbelievably hardworking self-starters. We couldn't be happier or more proud. God has truly given us the most amazing gift in our boys.