A week ago, it was the Micro-Dragon’s last day at proto-school. That was certainly a great ride. However, today was a new phase in his ongoing adventures as he started off with SCHOOL! The real one that counts, where he’ll start the path of learning to acquiring all the skills he needs to be able to successfully grow potatoes on Mars (he loves that documentary).
The parentals have been having discussions about school since well before the Hail Mary cycle that eventually led to the existence of the Micro-Dragon. Mostly moi, because I have had concerns over the school programs in the Chez Nous based on a 3 month period immersed in the system back when Big Hair metal was becoming a thing and Philip Oakey was racing up the charts with an androgynous Brit synthpop hit that he has never escaped. You have to wonder about an educational system where I score 27% on a pop quiz but still wound up getting the highest score in the class because the other 31 kids somehow managed to unanimously score goose eggs. Or that a classmate openly cheats at an open-book history exam and still fails.
Anyhoo, the way that it works here is that by default one must go into the French school system unless one gets an exemption to go to the English system, or one decides to just throw money to make bureaucracy go away and enter into one of the many private schools that dot the Chez Nous. I’m not a fan of the French system because the system’s been politicized and they pull shenanigans like the following fair-balance exercise in civics which states that the province is threatened by immigrants:
[aside: this was reported upon by radio station CJAD back on 02 April 2015, but the story has since been submerged after parent Bell “re-imagined” the station’s website, and yes that is STILL in the French curriculum]
So we had a choice between going private or using my eligibility to permit Micro-D to hit the English public system. The parentals actually chose a private academy until that institution’s directrice managed to p*ss off the Mom, at which point she gave them the francophone equivalent of “… and the horse you came in on”.
English public system it is.
Sure! No problemo. The Patrem’s eligible.
That is, until the school board calls back and says that my certificate of eligibility is no longer valid thanks to select rule changes in the intervening years, and that I would now have to prove eligibility by demonstrating majority instruction in English in *elementary* school. Yikes! That’s the new normal. Problem is, one of those school boards no longer exists, two schools no longer exist and another board merged with 3 others and can’t find the files. Just a little bit of panic less than 3 weeks before registration. However, irrespective of what’s going on with the Cheet-O, the Colorado school board really came through as they actually still had records that documented the Patrem’s transfer into their English system from a Canadian ENGLISH system. Yep, they saved it and pulled that out of the fire, and the Mom got the certificate stating that *her* son now held the privilege of being taught in an English school.
But wait! There’s more…
The school we want is within walking distance (!), has an excellent academic reputation, and is renowned on the Big Croissant for a stellar French immersion program, meaning that the Micro-D would be able to continue to develop his linguistic talent in the language of Molière without being infected by the Sesame Street twang of the Patrem. Unfortunately, the school has 120 slots for kindergarten, but priority goes to the siblings of those who are already enrolled in the school, meaning that there was there was something considerably further south of 120 slots available. Worse, parents line up for registration, and in the past they have lined up over the weekend for registration. In February. F-E-B-R-U-A-R-Y.
That would be moi, shortly after arrival at the school entrance, with a timestamp of 08:51 for this particular photo. The day BEFORE registration. Number 1 in line, as evidenced by my staking out my spot right next to the locked door. It took all of 6 minutes for another person to join me.
At this point, the temperature is a balmy -8ºC (17.6ºF for the imperial types) with a mild wind.
And this would be about 12 hours later, with a snap of the same entrance but with some of the other parents who decided to join me for the wait. In the intervening time, the temperature is close to -20ºC (-4ºF) and the wind is gusting around 40 km/h. I even have video somewhere of the flag whipping around in the wind.
I had advised the others that the best way to stay warm is to drink warm water sparingly and to eat complex carbohydrates and protein/fat, because it’s still the outside of a school and the shrubbery is strategically planted to permit Public Safety an unfettered view of any potential vandals. So of course the others followed the advice and cracked out the coffee, booze and donuts, and were soon hopping around to see how they could discretely “mark territory” (can’t say I didn’t warn them).
The 50+ or so people who elected to join me in this particular exercise did eventually make it in to complete the registration, and we were very grateful that the custodian allowed us in early to slightly thaw. Let’s just say that the overall experience has pre-loaded a potential future “old guy” lecture.
Fast-forward now from February to today!
Mr. Happy all spiffy in his school uniform with a very proud Mom about to walk (!) to school to start the new school year and start a whole new experience.
And holding his Mom’s hand to make sure that she’s safe and doesn’t fall down.
By the way – the cap is a train engineer cap from Oakland, and that’s a space-themed backpack the Mom managed to find for him.
Finally in front of the same entrance the Patrem camped out at 6 months prior, though considerably more comfortable at the present time.
And also with one thawed Patrem.
In his new classroom patiently waiting for his new classmates to show up (this was a boys-only session as part of a gradual entry to minimize the potential for “runners“).
And at his new locker waiting for the next part of the introduction activity to move ahead with. He’s checking to see if the Mom is proud of him (that would be yes). The more astute will note that he’s somehow managed a locker space between two girls (oy gevalt! always with the girls).
And finally walking the Mom home after the session was over. That’s right – crossing at a marked crosswalk after looking both ways for potential oncoming vehicles.
The first day ended really well, because he certainly wasn’t a runner – rather, he was disappointed he wasn’t allowed to stay longer.
The gradual entry continues tomorrow with a longer session, but the first full day (+ the introduction to the girls in the class) will only be after the Labour Day weekend. How excited is the Micro-Dragon to go to school? Actively packing his lunch and eagerly willing to go to bed to rest his brain in preparation for learning.
The parentals are really proud of our little boy and wish him a great school year and the start of a successful academic career.