The past few days have been full of sniffles and sobs, hugs and hearty laughter, play time and pray sessions, and everything in between getting a cold and my son’s hugs when I get home. Learning to live in the moment, in the present. Sometimes we take so much for granted, thinking there is always tomorrow. Like my friend Courtney writes, sometimes all that is actually guaranteed is today. Dropping my son to school the other day, I was beguiled by his innate ability to truly live in the present. Kid walks to class with a spring in his step, a smile plastered on his face, singing ‘Kenya taifa letu’ (Kenya my nation). I marveled at his attitude (of course this fluctuates from time to time, but with motherhood, you learn to pass the not-so happy moments). Then it got me thinking, he actually enjoys school! Which is good, and which I hope will continue that way, not flustered under the weight of the 844 education system.
In retrospect, I actually think the choice of school also steered my happy go lucky boy in this direction. When he turned two in 2014, I wondered to myself how I’d choose what school he’d go to, and what factors would guide my selection. Below I share some of the pointers that I found very helpful in no particular order.
1) First, the school had to be within a mile’s radius from home. There really is no point in subjecting a toddler to hours of traffic to and from school (guys in the Rongai diaspora, yall relate?). That, plus my son needn’t significantly change his sleeping schedule if he went to a school that was close. So, kid’s school is a ten minute drive from home, kid wakes up at 7AM, and is in school in an hour, which works perfectly well for me.
2) Secondly, the school would have to be a startup school (with qualified ECD teachers) or an established school whose kindergarten section had few kids. Here’s my logic, with fewer kids, the teacher is able to have a one-on-one with the kids throughout the day. The teacher is able to figure out whether the kids are unwell rather quickly because it is easy to pay attention to 15 toddlers than it is in a class of 30+ screaming energetic tots.
As fate would have it, the established schools would require him to take a bus to the school five miles away, so it made sense to settle for a startup school that is quite close. Some parents have their reservations about startup schools, and for the same reason, I made a follow-up on the same. My son’s teachers are qualified ECD teachers with 5 years’ experience, so my boy is in good hands.
The small teacher:kid ratio came in handy a couple of months ago when my son suffered an ENT infection, and his teacher called me ASAP to let me know he was not feeling well. I am oh so grateful for this lady, and the role she plays in molding my baby boy.
3) The third pointer revolved around ample playing space. I have mentioned before here that my son is moving kinetic energy; super active, playful kid. It was only fair that the school he would eventually go to had a playground. Thankfully, there is ample space where he can roll in the dirt, ride tires, kick balls, hop onto the swing… and do everything a boy his age does in the name of playing.
4) The fourth pointer, which was very critical for me, was that my son’s school had to have a sound foundation, preferably a Christian one. I am grateful his school encompasses the very virtues he learns at Sunday School. I am always impressed when he comes home having learnt a new prayer or song. It compliments church school on Sunday and our daily Bible reading sessions at night.
Coming up with this list made me look back with gratitude at the journey that raising Jayden single-handedly has been – long, winding, exciting, tumultuous at times, but overall, an immense blessing. Four years ago, I was six months pregnant, single and facing imminent job loss. I had no idea how I’d pick up the pieces of my life, how I’d provide for the child growing in me, and whether, if ever, I had any purpose in life. I plunged head first into Postpartum Depression (PPD), a whirlwind season of sorts. Even then, I was, continue to be grateful for my girl Cory over at Letters from a scribe who introduced me to the world of online work. This was, in retrospect, my saving grace for it allowed me to be a Work At Home (WAHM).
I was on the brink of recovery when my son started school in January this year. Grace has been a constant companion, even when I was not cognizant of this fact. I look forward to my son’s future with hope and enthusiasm, because even then, grace will meet us.
Cheeky face on Track suits Friday