Today will mark our first really big emotional pre-departure hurdle. The last day at our Brisbane school.
I’m not all together sure I’ve moved far beyond denying today is actually going to happen. And I certainly don’t feel emotionally prepared to have to go through the myriad of good byes this afternooon. It’s too soon to start feeling like a wrung out dish cloth!
The thing is I really, really, REALLY love this school. The girls don’t know any different, school is school for them and they don’t really have a frame of reference to know they’re spending their days at a really special place. I on the other hand. Incase you didn’t get it before. I love this school! We affectionately call it Our Little Town, after the song the children sing at assembly every week. And for us it really is a Little Town, a village and community hidden away in the heart of the city.
Traditionally schools and I have never seen eye to eye. I have about 7 positive memories of primary school – funnily enough they all involve food, music or kissing a boy under the craft table….! For the most part it was just plain dreadful. High school was moderately less dreadful but not something I’d like to repeat any time soon. So when it came time to pick a school for the girls, as every one of my mothers group friends will attest, I became a woman possessed, on a mission to find a village for my children, not just a school (yes pretty much everyone thought I was nuts). We wanted somewhere they could feel safe and nurtured, where their academic education would flourish but a equal weight would be placed on helping them grow into well rounded, respectful, creative and open hearted little humans. If I’m completely honest, I took my sisters advice very seriously and considered very carefully if the people sitting around me at all the schools I visited were people I might want to spend the next 10 or 12 years of my life with. As soon as I walked into Our Little Town I knew i had found my Tribe.
I know most people feel a deep connection and affinity for the place their children spend the greater part of their week. I don’t want to diminish that by saying my kids go to the ‘best school ever’, because really that is a very big call. But like Wally says “you’re the very best wife for me”, Petrie Terrace has been the ‘very best school for us’.
There will be other schools. And I’m sure they’ll be great. But our list of wishes is now pretty expansive and I’m just not sure there are all that many places that will quite stack up to this beautiful community we’ve had around for the past 5 years. It is indeed a special school that can embrace limited space, a tiny student body (of 210) and the funding challenges that brings whilst still delivering a unique education experience. In many ways these adversities have made this school what it is. At Petrie Terrace thinking is a sport, working bees are a food festival (with beer & music) and sporting events are an opportunity to experience the wider world. Ours is a school not afraid to pull out the playground and replace it with nature, confident enough to let senior students teach, guide and manage activities for the younger students, open minded enough to see the benefits in multi-age classrooms, smart enough to lure parents to P&C meetings by showing the kids a movie and serving the grown ups wine & cheese. This is a school that recognises creativity and enthusiasm is everywhere and encourages parents to share their skills within the school. Did you ever have the great fortune of watching 50 kids dance into their classroom?! Come to Petrie Terrace and you’ll see what happens when you swap the bell for music! Where else will we find a school with a rock band at assembly, fresh home made food in the tuckshop and a Principal who wears knee high boots and skinny jeans like a Boss (and is like a mum, auntie, favourite teacher, yogi, fashonista and great wise leader all rolled into one)….?!
I’m dreading today but I’m exceptionally grateful there’s no assembly. No watching 210 kids link arms and sway and sing “this is our school, let us be proud….”. There may be some vague possibility I won’t start crying until after lunch.
This is our school, let us be proud.
Let peace be here, in our Little Town.
Let love be here, let us speak out
Let us be one, in our Little Town.
Let us remember that as many hands make a house.
Also many hearts make a school (schoooooooooooool!)
We’ll plant a seed, stand by it proud.
And watch it grow, in our Little Town.
Little Town written by Bradley McCaw