School’s Out 2021

School has been the biggest challenge since we moved to rural Panama. In fact, I’ve written multiple blog posts about it. It’s been difficult to find stable environments that meet our educational needs and desires. We have been continuously piece mealing solutions for the past two years. Then, of course, the pandemic threw us for a loop like the entire world. However, last September, a miracle happened and we found perfect school solutions for both kids.

Of course, nothing is totally perfect. AJC’s school is almost an hour away and finding transportation or providing transportation was often a stressor. However, we felt it was worth it because his school is amazing. It is located in the jungle with an actual waterfall on the property. It’s a small class environment of only 9 students with a master teacher who really understood AJC’s needs and was able to accommodate. While being rigorously academic, it also was project based and nature inspired learning- including dissecting owl vomit they found- yuck! AJC made huge gains academically, and it felt great to be part of a wonderful school community.

They ended the year with an international fair. We represented Italy. Brian taught Asher how to make pizza dough and bake it in the wood fired oven. I led the class in a mask making activity to represent their celebration of Carnaval. Asher dressed up as Mars, and I was Venus. Of course, I made a fact filled poster for decoration, but kids bypassed that and went straight for the pizza. We were definitely the most popular table!

PJC had an ideal school year (except that it was in the opposite direction of AJC’s school). He stayed at the Pedasi Learning Center for a year of pre-K with the most fabulous teacher, Ms. Emily. She has been our one true, magical constant in providing a quality education for our kids- whether it’s preschool, Spanish classes, or theatre- we could not have stayed in Pedasi without her.

The best part of pre-K for PJC was that it was in Spanish so he was really able to cement his Spanish foundation. Beyond that, he explored many thematic units he loved especially space and the ocean. He also developed a love of numbers and is constantly counting or doing math formulas in his head. He finished off the year with an epic field trip to Isla Iguana which I was fortunate enough to chaperone. We had a perfect, sunny day for the kids to explore the island on their own.

It was so hard to say good-bye to the Pedasi Learning Center. PJC started there when we first moved to Panama and he was 2.5 years old.

He has grown and learned so much, and we are forever indebted to the incomparable Ms. Emily. Luckily she’ll stay in our lives as their Spanish tutor. PJC is officially a big boy and will be starting Kindergarten at AJC’s elementary school.

With the school year coming to a close, it was time to embark on our summer adventure!

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