If we had stayed in Attleboro, Aidan would already be in secondary school. With schools in every state and even every town doing things differently as far as the definition of elementary, middle, junior high, high school – its often hard to keep track. It’s not a lot different I think in Europe. It all depends on where you are. In Spain, Aidan would still have had this year, 5th grade, to finish up elementary. But instead, he’s finished it up here in the Netherlands with a new group of kids.
Here in the Netherlands, 5th grade is called Group 7. And next year he will go on to MYP1 (middle years program 1) at a secondary school down the road. At least that is the plan – subject to change as always and a big subject of controversy in our house these days (unbeknownst to the kids).
Monday was Aidan’s graduation ceremony at school, despite the fact that he still has almost 2 weeks left before summer vacation. Yes, school here goes until July. My American mind (and even my Spanish one) has trouble wrapping itself around this idea. Supposedly next year they are on the “late” schedule which means school until MIDDLE of July. Even worse if you ask me! But anyways, off the subject there.
The graduation ceremony isn’t an official graduation but a high tea where the students receive certificates for passing their Anglia exam. This is an exam that states you are proficient in English and therefore can continue to secondary school in English. As Aidan is a native English speaker, this was really never much of a cause of concern for us with him not passing or anything. But many in his class are not native English speakers and the presentation of the diplomas is also for the Dutch side of our school. To back up, our school consists of two sides – the Dutch side and the International side. However, this diploma is important for international school kids in that when they go to transfer schools, it proves their proficiency in English.
The ceremony itself was nice with a stage set up in the gymnasium. The international kids (there are only about 14 of them) went first and Aidan, like his mother and father, is not one to like being the center of attention. He walked up, grabbed his certificate and didn’t even look up – just walked to the side of the stage to wait for everyone else. His class took about 5 minutes. The Dutch side, with about 60 kids, took slightly longer. But impressive that these 11 year olds are already proficient enough to take this exam in English. Many start learning the language by 5 years old.
After the ceremony was a high tea. We didn’t hang out long at the tea as both kids were anxious to hit the road and mingling and small talk has never really been their thing. But diploma in hand, we are excited for this new chapter to begin in Aidan’s life.
I’m excited for lies ahead for Aidan. Secondary school, as it was for most of us I imagine, is a whole other ball of wax. From changing classes throughout the day to significantly more homework to becoming a more independent student from that of his elementary years. So much changes in secondary school. I know he’s ready for this change but am I? My little boy is growing up too fast!
Knuffels en kussen,