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Last night, I went back to elementary school… our first visit to what will be our girls’ home base for learning for the first several grades of their public school careers. We’re about six months out from the start of Kindergarten for Addie, and it’s a close call as to what’s been more surprising – the fact that we just did the open house for the Fall 2014 school year… or the fact that we’ll have a kindergartner. I’m going for the latter, as I still can’t believe that this little girl is going to be five this year.

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When we moved here four years ago, the deciding factor was the schools… and in the end, the entire purchase of this house hinged on the fact that we’d land our children a spot in a highly-desirable school district. The trade was overpaying for a house that we’re now terribly “underwater” on, but after seeing what we’re really paying for last night, I’m confident that it was completely worth it. 

With what I do here at home and on the site, coupled with some of the relationships that I have with certain organizations like PBS KIDS, Sprout and the like, I feel like I’ve been on the fringe of “education” for awhile, constantly seeking and highlighting pop culture media that will enrich, as well as entertain. Previewing the move from Pre-K into the “big girl” classroom last night, I see that this is what we’ve been building toward, and while I hesitate to use the word since it’s been a long-running pet peeve of mine that it’s overuse by many has diminished it, I find it amazing to see where we’re at. 

Honestly, I don’t know much about what the standard is for classrooms these days, but I do know that my daughter will have a classroom that’s probably 10,000x better than the ones that I knew as a child (I blame school district 163 in Park Forest and Chicago Heights for causing me deep-rooted emotional issues that still haunt me as an adult – situations that would spawn lawsuits in 2014 – but those are blogs for another day). It’s warm and inviting – and feels comforting and safe. There’s fun in every corner, a mix of classic, hands-on activities and new technology – some of the same technology that I’ve been keeping the kids away from thus far (I actually discussed that with one of the teachers, explaining why our kids don’t have a tablet) – well-stocked and organized with just about everything that a kid or teacher could need. The school is set-up much like a community – it’s own, self-contained village, and one that’s geared toward created model citizens. If first impressions are everything, the face put forward last night was perfect. I spoke with the Principal (the “Mayor”) and some of the faculty, and while I got a pretty good vibe from them, it was seeing the twinkle in Addie’s eye that warmed my heart. She chatted with the teachers, spoke with “new friends,” and like she has a habit of doing – walked around like she owns the place. “We call that a leader,” said one of the kindergarten teachers to me as Addie made a few definitive statements.

“She sure is,” I said… keeping in-mind that she is my daughter, and those bold, very firm statements and actions can sometimes be just as troublesome as they are beneficial. Especially from those who tend to become “followers.” We’re definitely not raising followers in this house, and that could make for one exciting ride as the school years begin.

And now, some rock. FAITH NO MORE – “Kindergarten” from 1992’s masterpiece, ANGEL DUST

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