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changing schools | phoenix children’s portrait photographers

What an emotional action packed week it has been. Portrait season is kicking into high gear. Keith is in NYC photographing a wedding and a few family portrait sessions. And Gabby changed schools.

We knew the kids changing schools was inevitable once we decided to buy a new home in Phoenix. At the end of last school year, we placed both girls on the wait list at our favorite Montessori school in Phoenix. I think at the beginning of last week, Gabby was #16 on the wait list and they had lost Isabella’s application. Needless to say, based on that info we weren’t optimistic that Gabby or Isabella would be changing schools in the near future. I never imagined that in the matter of a few days, they would call me and tell me Gabby was in position 1. They said it could take a week, a month or the better part of a year for her to get the next available spot. Boy was I surprised on Friday when the phone rang and it was the school telling me they had an opening for her: immediately! Wow. I wasn’t ready for that.

Keith and I needed to make an immediate decision or the spot would be given to the next child on the list and Gabby would move to the back of the line. The benefit was obvious. If Gabby enrolled – it would place Isabella in spot #1 based on sibling priority status. It was what seemed like a no-brainer.

EXCEPT – I love the Montessori school they currently attend in Scottsdale. I love that Gabriella has the same teacher Isabella had when she first started. I love that they stay in the same class for three years. I love the bond we have with their teachers. My heart broke. I was hysterical. I sobbed to Gabby’s teachers. But I didn’t want Gabby to see me so upset. I didn’t want her thinking there was anything sad about her changing schools. Why was a decision that needed to be made so difficult to make?

And then the revelation came – there is just never a good time for these big changes. There is no time like the present. Just make the change. This was a good change. A change that needed to be made. Yet it made me so sad. But Gabby’s last day was Wednesday and her first day at her new school was Thursday.

I explained to Gabby (without tears I might add) about her new opportunity and how she would be at her nice new school for years to come. I told her how her new teacher knew her old teacher. I told her that this would be great. She would meet new friends and still stay friends with the wonderful kids from the old school. She protested at first. She didn’t want to change schools. So I of course resorted to bribery. I offered her two prizes for giving the school a try: either a horseback riding lesson or going to the zoo. I imagine that probably breaks every good parenting rule there is, but it worked. She chose the horse back riding lesson.

Thursday morning, we walked into her new classroom. Her teacher was a delight. She hugged her and just made her feel completely welcome. When I picked her up from school, I asked her what the low point was of her day and she said it was “walking into the classroom that morning”. I asked her what the high point of her day was and she said “everything else”. She said she loved it! She even mentioned to her sister that she was so excited to be going to this school “until I go to college”.

Wow, the lesson I learned? Never underestimate how resilient kids are. (and never underestimate the power of a good bribe).

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