Happy 2015 everyone! We both took a bit of a break from writing. Last year was a bit hectic. We moved houses, started new schools and just lived. Our family got a new puppy and we got a bit more space moving into a house further from the city. We still live in Hong Kong, but now in the new territories so no longer surrounded by concrete. We still have lots of construction going on, but we have trees outside of our house and close to a small beach and waterfront. My daughter started primary school which was quite an adjustment from going to half day school into a full day program. My son started preschool at a place called the Mulberry Tree Progressive Unschool that meshed a Montessori approach with Reggio Emilia.
The Mulberry Tree is a pretty special place. From day 1, “A” was invited to play with the other children in the play area of the room when he was ready. The parents would sit on the stairs near the entrance to create a “boundary” for the kids. Teacher Allison and Teacher Mabo are both wonderful educators that really support the children and their development. On the first day, “A” stayed next to me for most of it, and eventually, he dragged a set of train/road tracks in the parents area to play and then some of the other kids joined in to play with him. On day 2, he did the same but grabbed some more toys in the parents area a bit earlier. I stayed with him in that area for probably a couple months. At the start, we went three days a week for only 2 hours. Eventually, I started escaping into a room for parents on the third level of the school and soon, I was able to just stay up there and get some reading done. That was in April to June.
“A” took the summer off and then in September of last year started five days a week for three house per day. After the first week, I was able to leave him at school on his own and get errands done and even exercising! I signed up for another 10K race so I had to start training. It was such a relief to not experience the same separation anxiety that happened when I had to leave my daughter at her school. Sometimes “A” had a harder time saying goodbye but it was definitely at a much lower degree than when “S” had to be on her own.
Recently, we got news that this special school might have to close due to financial constraints and also one of the founders has expressed desire to start a cooperative home-schooling project. This afternoon, we will have a meeting with the parents and teachers of this school to find out more about what will happen to the Mulberry Tree. Will keep you all updated with what will happen, as Hong Kong itself is already a very challenging place for getting placements in good schools here. With a very transient population, I’m not sure that a cooperative program will work.