As the youngest students in the school, the Toddlers went first. They all stood on this little bridge while their teacher, Beka (on the left) spoke about the progress they made this year and the kind of work they mastered. To be honest, I hardly heard a word of it, partly because it was so funny to watch Eleri up there, but mostly because I'm not sure that, for Eleri, the new skills in the classroom are the real celebration. Eleri take a very long time to warm up to things (and people), and I think after nine months at her school, she's close. Every morning, Ann, the director of the school, stands out front to greet the children and shake their hands. Clio is eager to take part in this ritual, and if we happen to arrive as the buses are unloading and Ann doesn't see us, Clio will wait patiently for her handshake. Not Eleri. Eleri has not yet decided to shake Ann's hand on any kind of regular basis. (I think I've witnessed it twice.) So somehow, Eleri standing on the bridge hand in hand with Ann was more sign of progress to me than anything else.
Each of the teachers (or guides, as we call them) presented their oldest students in a different way, and I think my favorite was the last class of 3d graders. Their guide introduced them one at a time and had them proceed over the bridge. The 4th years were waiting on the other side to hand them a secret present. (This was probably the 4th years' idea, and I love the way montessori students choose to support and lift one another.) Eleri came to sit with me after her class flew up, so we got to watch this together.
Congratulations, baby girl. Can't wait to see how you take to Children's House. I bet by the end of next year you'll be shaking hands without a thought, but if not, that's okay, too.