Thursday, June 16, 2011

The School Year That Was

Anna's last day of school was on Tuesday. She's both happy and sad for it to be over. As she said, "I'm happy because I get to spend more time with you, but sad because I won't get to see my friends all the time."

It makes me happy and sad, too.

The year was awesome, by the way. Anna learned a ton, and she made friends.

Some things of note, as far as the vegan stuff goes:

We talked to her teacher (let's call her "T") at the beginning of the year about Anna being vegan. T immediately understood everything we said, and there was never any confusion about it from then on. We gave T a list (incomplete, but a list nonetheless) of snacks that are vegan, since she does the shopping for snacks for the class. As far as I know, the class always had vegan snacks, or if they didn't, there was always a vegan option for Anna.


Kids have birthdays, of course, and they bring in non-vegan things. For the first few months, I just let Anna go treat-less. She would come home and say that so-and-so had a birthday and they brought such-and-such, but it wasn't vegan so she just had a snack. She never complained and never seemed sad about it. Except once. She said she wished she could have one of the cookies. I asked her if it was vegan. She said no. I asked if she wanted to eat things that aren't vegan. She said no. I asked if she wanted to eat the cookie. She said no, but that she wanted a cookie like that, but vegan.

So I bought a package of Candy Cane Jo-Jo's from Trader Joe's and sent them to school with her. From then on, whenever a kid brought in a non-vegan treat, T would give Anna a Jo-Jo. She loved it, and from the sounds of it, the kids were often jealous that she got a special treat.


Anna's teacher told us at the beginning of the school year that she has, in years past, kept a cockroach in an aquarium in the classroom. When she told us this, I mentioned that Anna may say something about the cockroach not wanting to be in a cage. I didn't ask her to not have the cockroach in class, mostly because I'm the kind of person who generally avoids conflict. But lucky us, after thinking about how Anna might feel about the cockroach, T decided to not have one this year. Yay! We feel pretty luck to have a teacher who respects, understands and even encourages our daughters empathy.

I know that some classes do a caterpillar in a jar in the spring. I don't think T usually does that in her class, which makes me happy. I don't like the idea of confining animals for the education of our kids. It might teach them something about life science, but the untaught lesson is that it's OK for us to confine and control the living conditions of our fellow beings.

And besides, who wants to see caterpillars and chrysalises in a jar in a classroom when you can see them outside?

It's a Montessori school, which means that pre-K and Kindergartners are in the same classroom. So Anna will have this same teacher next year. Woot!

UPDATE: Upon further thought, I realized that the white thing in the above photo isn't actually a chrysalis. But they were all over the place and each had a caterpillar in them. So what are they? Google is failing me. If anyone knows, let me know.

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