Field Trip

Today I went on my first field trip as a parent helper since we relocated to America.  The preschool class from my 4 year old’s nursery were being taken on a guided tour of a local independent grocery store.  I not only transported my own child there but was also asked to take another child in my car since I already have a bunch of child car seats.  I was not 100% sure where I was going and have only been driving in the US for a few short weeks so that felt like a heap of responsibility but, of course, everything was just tickety-boo.

The store manager took the kids on a tour of the store, the shop floor and the back rooms.  It was cute seeing the wonder in all of their little eyes as they learned new things.  They got to see someone making sushi and were allowed to sample a California roll, they saw the machine in the store room that compacts cardboard boxes, they had a geography lesson about locations for obtaining fruit and vegetables throughout the seasons, they saw meat being shrink wrapped and they got to see a checkout in operation.  My 4 year old’s favourite part was getting to stroke a lobster.  All the kids lined up to pat it’s shell.  So much affection before it is boiled to death.

After the tour, the kids each had a shopping list to use as a treasure hunt around the store and they were each sent back to nursery with a paper sack filled with a pretzel, carton of juice and piece of fruit.

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It was fun to accompany the trip and I got to meet a few more of the parents which was nice.  Best of all though was the fact that on the tour I spotted a display full of imported European cheeses.  I may have found a source of decent cheese!

Mission Accomplished: Preschool

I finally found a preschool option that works for us logistically, is affordable (though I am still adjusting to the very concept of having to pay for preschool education) and works for the smallest Pict.  We went for a tour last week and he was automatically at ease there, joining in with a Whale Watch lesson (including clambering inside a life-size blow up humpback whale!) and participating alongside all the other kids, which made me feel confident it was a good fit for him.  So we signed up, filled out the forms, paid the fees and he started yesterday.  He is excited to find that he has homework just like his big brothers and he has loved all of the activities there so far – though I am writing this on Day 2 so my optimism about his levels of enthusiasm could be a bit previous.

It feels like a really positive step to getting back to normality to have all of the kids in some form of education now.  They thrive on structure and routine and stimulus and school and preschool automatically provide that for them.  They also need socialization in an educational context, learning alongside and from their peers, bouncing ideas around.  Homeschooling the 4 year old on his own was never going to fill that gap.  I think he and I already appreciate having a bit of separation between us, some independent time, after spending the last few months together 24/7 without a break.

Here’s a photo of him on his second day of school (because I forgot I could use my phone to take a photo of him yesterday on his first day).

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He is now napping on the sofa in the middle of the afternoon.  He hasn’t napped – unless ill – since babyhood. This does not bode well for tonight.  However, it does suggest he is mentally and physically drained from two days of preschool and that is a good thing.