Of all of the logistics and planning it took to make this move, coordinating schools has been one of the hardest parts. When we came here back in March on a "scouting" trip, we visited four schools and had a plethora of other options if we wanted to see more. All of the schools we planned to visit were private; and we were continually advised that this was the best option for us. I accepted that. The school was one of the drivers of where we chose to live. It was important to find the school first and then try to make the house we rented close to the school. (In my home in Little Rock, our house was about 200 yards from his school so we are used to convenience in this part of our lives.)
There is one international school in Lima, which maintains the United States' school calendar and all the lessons are in English. Seems like a natural choice for some, but this is not what I wanted. Most of the children that attend this school are the children of ex-pats, white, mid to upper class, and not Peruvian. *Not that there is anything wrong with all of those things, because Davis fits most of that same profile.* But I wanted Davis to experience school in Lima in Spanish so he would learn the language faster. And I wanted him to attend school with Peruvian children.
In March, we were given a long list of other schools (including the international one) from the relocation company and they are probably all fantastic. But they are all really expensive and cater to the ex-pat crowd. So our relocation consultant, a Lima native, recommended a school that she had heard about in San Isidro. They agreed to meet us without an appointment and we met with the school director. She gave us a tour and we got to see the kids playing at recess. Of the four schools we visited, this one just felt right. And they were willing to admit Davis.
So, I am proud to say that my son is the newest student at the Berkeley School. "Letter B" is for Berkeley. We visited the school three times last week. The first was just a check-in to introduce D and double check that we had all the administrative components lined up. The second was a psychological evaluation of Bryan and me (which I posted about earlier.) The third was for Davis' evaluation where they asked him lots of questions too. They asked about how he was disciplined at home, what he thought of Bryan, how he felt about a new school and lots of other stuff about his life in general.
They invited him to join them for a whole day of school. So last Thursday he was a Berkeley student all day long. And then....they invited him back on Friday. And then....drumroll please....he loved it!! They made him feel great. His teacher also happens to be the English instructor for the whole school. (Almost all schools in South America, and the world for that matter, begin teaching the children English early on.) He had such a fun time. The official Davis report goes like this: "At recess while I was playing soccer with the boys, all the girls were chanting 'Davis, Davis, Davis' like they were my cheerleaders. And all the boys were fighting over who would be my friend.'
Oh good grief.
But that makes me feel good. When I asked the staff there why they asked my family so many questions in the interviews, I loved their response: They want to know Davis and his parents so that they can support him better. They want to know our family and always have open communication so that we are all engaged in his education.
The Peruvian school calendar is March through December and summer break starts with Christmas. So Davis will start in the middle of the school year on August 6th and then start a new school year in March. To celebrate, we bought his new uniforms and went to Burger King for dinner. (Sidenote: I thought some good ole American food would be awesome. Turns out, fast food here gives you the same sick feeling you get when you eat it in the USA.) Then we came home and I made him model his new attire...
What a looker! Looking at these pictures makes me teary. This is my baby boy. The pride and joy of my life. Like me, he is venturing into a whole new world - fraught with challenges, opportunities, adventure and change. And for some reason, I think he is going to do better than any of us.