This year our son went off to his first day of kindergarten. And like most parents the prospect of dropping a 4 year old off for the first time was more traumatizing for us than it was for the kids.Recognizing this phenomenon, a bunch of parents in our neighbourhood organized a special get together in the parking lot of the school. Once we dropped off our little ones, we were all invited to gather together for coffee, pass around the box of kleenex and get to know the parents of our kids’ classmates a little better. The nearby Starbucks offered free coffee and somebody brought some home-make sweets. The principal even came out to say hello once the morning announcements were over.
Like many people, my wife and I spent time trying to find a new home that was close to a school. We were pretty sure we did a good job when Captain R. Wilson Elementary, the school just around the corner (actually two corners, but who’s counting?) was included on the 2006 national ranking of the 30 best schools in Canada, according to Today’s Parent magazine. And while my wife and I didn’t miss an opportunity to brag about that to our families and friends, it wasn’t until we had the opportunity to share that box of Kleenex that we knew for sure how very lucky we are to be a part of this particular school community.
What makes this all so special for me is that parents with kids who attend CRW have made it into a school that reflects the Playbourhood spirit. They took the time to get to know each other, to introduce parents from the broader community where we seldom venture. Eventually, our kids will be big enough to visit those areas all on their own. If we get to know each other as parents – as neighbours – I’m sure we’ll all be more comfortable with our kids playing together. And that what makes this particular school so great – it’s good for our kids and it’s good for us parents! It’s this kind of community spirit that creates real neighbourhoods.