Tomorrow our oldest grandchild, Luna, starts kindergarten at the Jackson STEM Dual Immersion Academy in Alta Dena, CA. She will be entering a class where 90% of the classroom instruction will be in Spanish, 10% in English. By 5th grade, the English/Spanish instruction will be 50/50. She will also have the opportunity to be exposed to the STEM curriculum, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. The kids start early in these subjects, plus there is music, art, cooking and gardening with a school gardener, who teaches the kids the science behind plant growth and the names of the plants in Spanish. This is a public school but the Dual Immersion program is supported through a federal grant to the Pasadena School District and the STEM program operates in partnership with neighboring CalTech, JPL (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory), Side Street Projects and other programs.
Luna is excited to go to “big-kid” school. She is also excited to add to the Spanish she already knows. Tonight I asked her if she was nervous about starting school. “No, Grandma, all the kids are starting tomorrow just like me so it will be all of our first day.” Quite a philosophical way of thinking about it if you ask me. As I recall, my mother took me to kindergarten kicking and screaming and then let me stay home about half the time since I was such a Mama’s baby. Of course, that was before kindergarten was officially part of elementary school. I don’t recall being anywhere near as mature as Luna seems to be.
Still, I expect there’ll be some serious adjustments over the next week or two. After all, it will take a while before Luna and half her classmates can understand what their teachers are saying! Luckily, half of the class are already Spanish speakers. I suppose this helps with peer-to-peer teaching.
Here are Luna and Nico tonight in their bath. I am the official bath supervisor when we visit. I exercise my “grandmother’s privilege,” so I get this special time with the little ones.
Nico starts two days a week at St. Mark’s Episcopal Preschool in Glendale on Tuesday. He is excited to have his own school. At 2 1/2, he’ll spend most of his time outside playing with a long nap in the afternoon. I expect he’ll love it. He’s a social little cuss.
Our babies are growing up.