First bell

Today, Hyla spent the day at the middle school she’ll most likely attend next year. She was paired up with a seventh grade girl and spent the day following her schedule, moving from class to class as the bell rang.

Seventh grade is a big transition for every kid, but it feels (to me, anyway) like an even bigger change for Hyla, moving from her current tiny school (~20 kids, K-6) to a 300-student, multi-building campus.

She’ll be leaving the school she’s attended for the last seven years, since she was a tiny five-year-old “munchkin”. It’s a school that has a dog, and a huge field where the kids play freeze tag, and where time for reading alone in the corner is as essential as time spent in class. It’s a school that doesn’t doesn’t have desks, or grades, or report cards, or tests, or homework. It’s a perfect place to be an elementary school student, learning to love school and being excited to go there every single morning.

The school she’ll be moving to is something quite different. It’s a very good school, and has gorgeous views of the mountains, state-of-the-art science classrooms, a library full of books and computers, and friends Hyla’s known since preschool, but everything about it is more formal, more scheduled, and more intimidating than her current school. Bigger classes, less time to play, more expectations.

In spite of all of that, the only apparently apprehensive people in our family when we arrived this morning were the parents. Hyla took it all in stride and confidently set off with her student “host” as the first bell rang.

I looked at the clock all morning long. What was she doing now? How was “block B-1” going for her? What building was she in? Did gym class go okay? How did she handle lunch in the cafeteria?

I needn’t have worried for a second. When I picked her up, she was accompanied by her new friend and another friend she’d met at summer camp. There were hugs all around and shouts of “See you next year!”, and a huge grin on Hyla’s face. When we asked her how she liked it, it was both thumbs up. Way up.

I think we’re going to be alright.

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