I have managed to walk a fine line between trying to control everything related to Bilingual Baby’s transition to Costa Rica and keeping an open mind. Setting Jojo up at a daycare has given me the most stomach aches.
We decided to go with a daycare in Mal Pais, in the next town over, even though we don’t have a car, because the woman who owns the coworking space/apartment where we’re staying sends her three-year-old there. Plus, the philosophy of the daycare itself seemed like a perfect blend of the two little schools Jojo has attended in Austin: Reggio Emilia theory, nature focused, play oriented, bilingual. But, how to get there?
There’s a bus. On the inside I ruled it out. Most likely, I thought, I will not be able to put my almost-three-year-old on a bus alone in a foreign country. But on the outside, I decided not to rule it out. So we played out a scenario that allowed Bilingual Baby and I to both feel comfortable with it all. We needed to visit the school, and I needed to ride the bus with her first.
Monday morning we waited outside for the bus to pick us up at 8:10 like we’d been instructed to do, but the bus never came. I called the director of the school and she jumped on her ATV and came to get us. In 15 minutes Bilingual Baby was sandwiched between me and her new teacher on a white four-wheeler, navigating a dusty, potholed road, holding onto her pink sunglasses for dear life. Keep an open mind. Go with it.
We toured the school, watched the kids doing yoga, and stayed for free play. Best part was the baby swing zipline. The swing had two ropes that the kids could use themselves to pull their friends to the end of the line and send them flying. A safety mechanism at the end of the line brought the kids to a slow, even stop, and always a teacher waited to receive the happy child.
One of the teachers was reading a book to the kids during snack time, just like at her school back home. All the buildings were open-air, and the kids went barefoot all day. There are two teachers who speak only English and about four who speak in Spanish and they promised to make an effort to pair Jojo up with Spanish-speaking kids. The kids rotate between yoga, gardening, free play, art, and writing. Also, Friday is rainbow day and we already have Jojo’s dress picked out.
Bilingual Baby didn’t want to leave (my plan worked). I told her we could come back the next day and she could stay all day. She liked that idea.
One of the teachers called a taxi for us and we headed home to Santa Teresa. Tomorrow we would make sure to be in the right place when the bus came by.