Saturday, May 23, 2015

Beginnings and Endings

Dear Ian,

Today is Friday, May 18th, 2015.  Today is your last day as an Advent Parish Day School student.  Yup.  It's the last day of school, and as a teacher, I am doing a dance of joy.  As the mommy of a graduating pre-k student, I'm sorta getting all emotional over here.  You're just gonna have to deal with it, too.

When I first signed you up as a student here at Advent, I knew that you were going to have a great time.  The art room, in particular, sold me on this school, and Ms. Lynn has proven herself to just be awesome!  I loved the fact that you would have other special area classes like Dance and Movement, Music, Cooking, Science and Chapel.  Teacher turnover was practically non-existent, and I loved the small, familial atmosphere.  I fell in love with Advent, and you thrived at this little school.

We also had some of the greatest ladies ever influence your life while you were here.

Your very first teacher outside of our house was Ms. Laura.  You were technically in two different classes with her, as I was teaching five days a week, and Ms. Christene sorta created a spot for you out of a Monday-Wednesday-Friday class and a Tuesday-Thursday class.  You got to do everything twice, which was kind of fun, and you went from just hanging out at the house with me and a couple of other babies to two classes of at least 9 other kids.  18 instant friends to play with!  Ms. Laura was so great with you.  She helped you through the rough transition from being at home to being in school, and she comforted me as you cried your way pretty much every day from the beginning of school until Labor Day.  I loved her no-nonsense approach to teaching, and she really helped get you on the right path with school.  You loved to come home and tell me stories about what you had done during the day, and when we said prayers at night, you always remembered Ms. Laura.  I cannot thank her enough for what she did for my baby boy back then.  Even today, she's still going above and beyond for you!  Ms. Laura retired from teaching, but that didn't stop her from making a special trip back to Advent to take this picture with you.  She is truly awesome!

Your next year at Advent, as you went from age two to age three, you had the dynamic duo of Ms. Katie and Ms. Mallory.  These two are a HOOT!  And I love the fact that you got to be in their room.  Like Ms. Laura, Ms. Katie expected a lot from you, and it was neat to watch you rise to the challenge.  You had a fun little group of kids in that room, some of who are still in your class this year, and she and Ms. Mallory did a great job with you guys.  Some of my favorite art that you made at Advent came from when you were in Ms. Katie and Ms. Mallory's class.  I have a gorgeous Eric Carle-esque picture that you did, and it's framed and up in your room.  Ms. Mallory also is a danged good photographer, and she and Ms. Katie made a little photo album of all of the pictures that they took of you throughout the year.  It's safely tucked away on one of your bookshelves, and you like to take it down to look at it every now and then.  These two teachers taught you a lot as you transitioned from that tough age of the Terrible Twos to the Trying Threes, and they made it look easy.  I'm so very glad you got to work with them, and we probably owe them years of Chic-Fil-A Mondays to repay them.

Next on your little tour of Advent teachers comes Ms. Jackie and Ms. Jan.  This was a GREAT year.  I loved all of the themes these two came up with during the year.  Ms. Jackie likes to just sorta go with the flow, and she let you all choose a lot of the units you studied during the year.  Two in particular that come to mind are the pirate theme, where she turned your classroom into a pirate ship, complete with masts, sails and a crow's nest, and the Dr. Seuss theme where they took pool noodles and turned them into truffala trees.  I really appreciated the calm and laid back approach that Ms. Jackie and Ms. Jan personified.  You might not have guessed it, but your momma can be a little high-strung, so it made me feel good knowing that they were a calming presence in your life.

And that brings us up to this year:

For your final year at Advent, you finally moved into the "big kid room" in the cottage, also known as "the classroom that mommy was in for three years."  You sorta took my spot with Ms. Nancy, little dude!  And you have had a great year with her and Ms. Katie.  You've learned a ton as it pertains to academics, but you also learned, and probably most importantly how to be a kindergartener.  Social skills are just as important as ABC's, and I now Ms. Nancy did a great job prepping you for your next adventure.  Her peacemaker unit always inspires the kids in her class to be leaders and helpers at school and at home, and you had to work hard to earn your peacemaker.  But on top of helping you grown up into a big kid, she's also helped you advance academically.  You're writing and reading more than ever, and you really love learning.

That last part is the most important part to me.  The fact that you enjoy school and are always ready to learn something new thrills me.  I know that you will go far as long as you keep that inquisitive spirit.  Sometimes that inquisitiveness makes me want to scream as you ask question after question, some of which I HAVE JUST ANSWERED!  But it's our job to foster that desire to learn, so we answer yet again. 

Advent has been like a second home to us; partially due to the fact that we spend so much time here, but mostly due to the familial environment.  And family is a key word, here.  I know I mentioned that Grandma Brooks taught at Advent a while back, and that Daddy attended this school as well, so we have a history with this place.  And I wanted us to leave a mark, just like it has left a mark on us.  Enter the Advent Brick Fundraiser. 

Advent has a small brick area where families had the opportunity to purchase bricks to celebrate their time and memories at Advent.  The school holds this fundraiser every other year, we had the good fortune to have your last year be one of the years the option was available.  This Wednesday, the school held it's brick dedication, and I got some special photos of you and our family brick.
 Here you and Ms. Christene are reading the inscription on your brick.
You and our family brick.  It reads:
Brooks Family
Erik 1981
Ian 2011-2015
Thank you!

So, here we are at the end of your time at Advent.  Mommy still plans to be here for a bit, but you're off to big school in the blink of an eye.  This week has been filled with fun activities celebrating a great year.  Thursday was your end of the year party at Wyatt's house, and you all had a blast playing with all of your friends on a big slip and slide thingie. 
You made a lot of great friends in this class, and I hope we're all able to get together during the summer a bit.  You wanted to host a swimming party with your classmates and other friends, so we're gearing up for that in a couple of weeks, and it will be good to see them after all of the End of the Year dust settles.  

And since this post is about beginnings and endings, I thought I would end it with pictures of you from your first day at Advent and your last. 
Day one at Advent, August 2011.  Look at my little man!  The look on your face clearly shows that you are not at all sure about what I am getting ready to put you through.  
Last day of Advent, May 22, 2015.  It's been a great four years.  You've grown and changed so much, and I can't believe how quickly the time has gone!  It's amazing.

And so, now we're gearing up for another fun summer together before you're off to Kindergarten.  I am going to make every minute count!

Bye, Advent!  Thanks for the memories!

Love you bunches, Kindergarten Bear!

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