Monday, July 11, 2016

Schoolgirl Ellie

Well, I've done it again. I've gone largely MIA for the better part of two months. I think. Is that even right? I don't know. I've been wrapped up in 1) jury work; 2) prep for E.J.'s second birthday party; 3) travel for said party and visiting with family; and 4) laziness. There you have it, folks! My June in a nutshell!

Anyway, I do have some things I want to backtrack and discuss, starting with the end of Ellie's first year of school. She finished at the end of May, and thankfully, the adjustment to that lack of routine went more smoothly than I expected. So, yay for that!

Ellie on the last day of Pre-K3!

Her first year of school was just so wonderful. Honestly, I thought she would like school and do well there, but I worried a bit because Ellie is one who, if she gets it in her mind that she doesn't like something, she DOES NOT LIKE IT STOP ASKING HER TO TRY IT AGAIN NO WAY SHE HATES IT. I was a little worried that if something went awry in her first year of school, we would have an uphill battle when it comes to school for the foreseeable future.

But my worries were pointless because this year went even better than I could have hoped. Ellie's teachers were fantastic—her main teacher has been teaching at her school for over 30 years and she is just the sweetest woman. She has a soothing southern drawl and is such a calming yet firm presence with the kids. Her assistant teacher was also so kind and helpful. Ellie just adored them both, and so did we.

The Busy Bees class!

And, it seemed the feeling was mutual! When we had a conference with her teachers this spring, they just raved about what a sweet, caring, kind girl Ellie is. Her main teacher described her as "authentic" which I thought was an excellent way to describe Ellie. She is very much who she is, at all times, and it's refreshing and inspiring. Her teachers talked about how careful she is with her work, how well she does and how she enjoys success.

Ellie with her teachers on the last day of school

And she learned so much! They did so many fun things. In addition to all the normal preschool-skill stuff (recognizing and writing their names, cutting with scissors, etc.) they also had computer class once a week, physical education, music class (though Ellie never would sing), and religion class. They learned about holidays and a touch of American history (Ellie brought in pictures from our Washington, D.C. trip last summer to share during that unit!). They took a field trip to a pumpkin patch, had a petting zoo visit the school, marched in Halloween/Easter/Teddy Bear parades, picnicked in the church garden, hosted a Thanksgiving feast and an ice cream social, and performed in Easter and Christmas concerts. Towards the end of the year, they also had a myriad special guests visit the classroom, including a police officer, an entomologist, a Navy aviator, and a yoga instructor. They also learned about doctors and nurses and set up their own classroom clinic to practice their skills (you know Doc Ellie jumped right in there on that one!). Day to day, Ellie especially loved playing dress-up in the classroom and Star Wars on the playground with her friends.

Ellie playing dress-up at school

The Halloween parade

The Easter parade

Celebrating Ellie's birthday at school

Raising her hand during circle time!

Doctor Ellie at work

Yoga practice

Teddy Bear tea party in the church garden (they were each supposed to bring a favorite stuffed toy, and Ellie chose to bring my favorite doll from childhood - my Cabbage Patch Kid named Sharri!)

End-of-the-year ice cream social

And she really seemed to make great friends. There were 11 kids in her class in total (six girls and five boys). She talked about her friends every day and after school, she would beg me to let her stay a few more minutes to run in the grass with her friends (E.J. was also a big hit with the girls at these times, and "run around with friends" often turned into a "chase Ellie's baby brother" game). Since school got out, we've gotten together with a couple of her friends individually, and her amazing teacher organized a play date at a playground for anyone from the class who wanted to come (she even brought snacks, stories to read and a little toy for each of the children that went along with the story. Have I mentioned she is amazing?).

Ellie running with one of her best buds after the Easter concert

Chasing E.J.!

Storytime during the Busy Bees summer park playdate

Since school got out, in addition to our playdates I mentioned, Ellie has occupied her time with a week at Vacation Bible School. The church has a HUGE VBS turnout (over 300 kids this year!) and they did a great job with it! Ellie was hesitant at first, but really ended up loving it. She liked that they did themed dress-up days every day (blue shirt the first day, clothes backwards the second day, crazy hair the third day, etc.), and she enjoyed the skits they watched each day. Now that it's over, she keeps asking to go back and gets very excited when we see her VBS teacher in church on Sundays!

 I promise, she did like it, despite being the only non-smiling kid in this photo of her class.

Backwards day

We went RAINBOW for Crazy Hair Day!

I'm just so pleased with how all this school stuff went for Ellie this year. I'm a little anxious now that she'll have a hard time adjusting to being in a different class in the fall, because she loved her "Busy Bees" class so much, but hopefully some of her former classmates will be in her new class and that will make the adjustment a little easier. And we have our fingers crossed that her teacher from this year doesn't retire before E.J. makes his way into her classroom year after next!

I'm so proud of my little student! It has been such a delight to watch her grow so much this year. She is such a cool little girl!

Look at her growing up before our very eyes!

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