Liam’s New School

January 22, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Whoa is me, the jet lag! For some reason I was certain we’d be up with the sun this morning, but apparently I had it all backwards. When I finally cracked a bleary eye to look at the clock, sure it was 6 AM because that’s how it felt, it was 10AM. Crap! We had to be at Liam’s new school at noon! By some miracle we got ourselves presentable, figured out the metro system, found the school and arrived in the front office with about a minute to spare. Whew!

We decided since Liam is entering mid-semester we’d go with the American Community School, which is where most of the embassy kids go. The campus includes the elementary, middle and high school, and the focus on academics and extra circulars is what you’d expect from a private school. Class sizes are small, only 18 or so per classroom teacher. The first grade set up was similar to Liam’s school in Derby, with three classrooms connected through open doorways. We got to tour the campus, and we were very impressed! There’s a proper theater for plays and musicals that the elementary kids can use for music programs, which he’ll be doing in the spring. There’s an indoor pool, and swim lessons are a part of the PE curriculum. I’ve got mixed feelings about this — on the one hand, I’ve always felt it was important for Liam to learn how to swim. On the other hand, every swim lesson we’ve tried has ended in tears. Seriously, he’s like an angry, wet cat. We talked quite a bit with the principal about it, and she assured me they’ll work very gently with him.

We met with the school psychologist and the principal for an assessment and interview. No surprise Liam was performing at and beyond his grade level, especially in math. They were happy to have him start Monday. We toured the classroom and met the class pet, a three-legged dog named Mr. Chips. He hangs around with the kids all day, listens to them read stories and goes out with them at recess. The Athens climate is much like southern CA, so I noticed a lot of outdoor areas around the classrooms for kids to play, eat, and learn. The elementary lunch room was much smaller than the one in Derby, and right next to the first grade classroom. They cook a lot of Mediterranean food, so I have a feeling Liam will be mostly bringing his lunch. But this kid has surprised me in the past (hello…black eyed peas?), so we may try  few things and see what happens.

Before we left we arranged for a shuttle bus to pick Liam up on Monday. The arrangement was a bit complicated — we were told we’d have to cross a busy street at a cross walk with no traffic light, and the guy seemed a little overly concerned about the danger. Although, after watching traffic downtown on our way to the hotel, I can totally believe that crossing the street could be a dicey proposition. He said there was another student who moved to the area recently, and they were going to see if they could get a special shuttle that will pick them both up in a better location, but they have to work that out and get back to me. In the meantime, I’m going to go with him on Monday to make sure he gets settled in ok, get him all set up for school lunch (wishful thinking!) and buy him the required gym uniform. No other school uniforms at this school, which is one less thing to have to worry about.

I’m pleased they were able to get him into school so quickly, but a little apprehensive about getting there so soon. We’ll be moving into the townhouse on Sunday, and with barely any sense of the neighborhood I’ve got to get him to school on the shuttle and get myself back to the townhouse on a public bus. I had James count out the bus fare in Euros for me to have in my pocket. Perhaps he should pin a note to my jacket with our address as well!

 

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