“Hey Daddy, I tooted in class today” was a phrase Penelope couldn’t say just two months ago. Our baby has started school! In the UK, state-sponsored education begins as early as three years old, and Penelope is five. Even though Penelope never attended school prior to our arrival in Edinburgh, she has done remarkably well. She’s made scores of friends and loves learning. Her teacher, Ms. Cairnes, is quite nice and has helped smoothly assimilate Penelope into Scottish culture. In fact, Penelope has already picked up the local accent and lingo—she makes sure we throw out our “rubbish,” wash our “trousers,” and put “plasters” on our booboos. She even loves her uniforms—skirt, cardigan, and all! The learning process for Penelope will be interesting (and I look forward to three years from now) as pronunciation and inflection differ greatly from Leah and I, which has lent to Penelope picking up an accent.
She’s our little Scottish girl. Also, the schools, like America, have a catchment area designated according to a home address. However, the overall areas are smaller, which makes for classes with fewer pupils (Penelope’s class is 18). Penelope’s school is called Leith Walk Primary, and it is nestled in a nice neighborhood, about a five-minute walk from our house. When we first saw it, we thought we had stumbled upon the Harry Potter set. It was beautiful. The school is great and seems to be interactive both with students and parents having already offered two different classes for parent education and, during Halloween, throwing a dance party for P1 (Kindergarten) and P2 (1st grade) students. Though, most of the kids were ghoulish, not only dressing as princesses or fairies, but as witch princesses and demon fairies…it was, admittedly, cute. Penelope was a Ninja Turtle. In any case, we are thankful to the staff that made the enrollment process, and Penelope’s experience, so easy during such a difficult transition. We look forward to watching our daughter (and son, in January) grow in her intellect and social skills as well as reminding her that etiquette doesn’t permit tooting in class.