Thursday, April 10, 2008

School Days

In New York City, kindergarten administrators interview prospective four-year-old students by asking them about their goals, and parents start planning careers for the kids just after poddy training.

Life moves a little slower here.

Nevertheless, even though she will still be in kindergarten for more than a year, we must choose Adinah's elementary school now. We've talked about international schools where English is the classroom language, but Anette rather forcefully dismisses these joints as elitist. So that leaves the public schools, and we can choose from several in the neighborhood. Ehh, who am I kidding? It'll all come down to getting Deanie into the school where Oskar, Teresa, Magdalena, Mariella, Vincy and all of her other friends go.

The other day we went to our first and possibly last Open House. The school is directly across the street from Adinah's kindergarten, and it's an odds-on favorite, in Adinah's mind at least, because Markus Novak goes there. (Surely you know of Markus Novak? Adinah always says his full name, as if the little guy was world famous.)

The director addressed all the visiting parents, and my German is good enough to get the gist of what she was talking about, though our friends later told me she basically recited all the information that's on the school's web site. And I listened in on some of the parents' conversations with various teachers and staff. But I snooped around the place for more incidental evidence of it's value (to us) as an educational institution. I scanned a framed photograph of almost all of the current students: four or five black kids, several Asian, Turkish and Croat kids, and a couple with very long Spanish names. For Vienna, that's a pretty diverse student body. So far so good.

The kids were spilling out of their classrooms, sitting on the floors of the hallways looking at the globe or playing games. Our friend Andy heard one kid say something in English to another student, who answered him back in German. The gymnasium is built out of beautiful old dark wood, but isn't otherwise fancy or high-falooting. And the kids throughout the building looked like they were having a pretty good time. Not drinking, gambling or shooting smack, just, you know... having fun. And there aren't any metal detectors at the school doors.

It was nice.

It was only later that I got all sentimental and thought,'Our little girl is going to school. She'll be at NYU in no time!'

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