My children’s class is breaking up … and I couldn’t be happier.

The class keeps growing. By the time we got around to coloring yesterday, (sometimes neighborhood kids drop in when they see us, even if we’re at the tail end of class by then), there were 15 children. And, unlike a year ago, they weren’t overwhelmingly young.

In fact, 5 of our regular students are 10 and 11.

So, going forward, I’m going to be teaching the 10-and-up class. Danna will keep working with the 4-8 group.

I’m going to miss my little ones. Amelia, age 5, who pretends not to listen, but then remembers better than anyone what was said last week. Lily, age 7, who diligently writes everything down in the notebook that I never see her without. Silas, age 6, who is heartbreakingly charming one-on-one, but becomes shy with the larger group. Enthusiastic Nia, age 8, with her widespread reputation for being the happiest child in town.

But I’m also excited to be able to work with the older girls. (Yes, I’m back to all girls again!) Calm and collected Ianna. Sharp-witted Carlise. Deeply creative Jasmine. Truth-seeking Alexis.

We’ll be able to delve more deeply into meaningful concepts. We’ll get to go back to doing drama, which we had to stop with the sudden influx of younger children. And we can sing more difficult music! No more “Love, love, love, love, love your fellow man,” for us! While I enjoy songs written for children, it’ll be SO NICE to be able to teach more grown-up selections. Rounds! Basic harmonies! Woo!

I’m also eager to finally get to make use of a curriculum I’ve never taught. The Ruhi Grade 3 lessons demand a lot more preparation and creativity from the teacher than the Grade 1 and 2 materials, and I’m ready for the challenge. It’s an aspect of professional teaching that I miss, actually. I always excelled at lesson planning.

There’s one final reason why this is an important development: in a year, these girls will all be junior youth, and they’ll be ready for a group of their own. This year will be a chance for them to develop a common identity apart from the children. They’ll draw new participants and develop along their own path, as will the children. It’s like dividing bulbs in order to allow them to propagate. Each group needs the space to spread to its full potential.

Will I miss the days of 15 kids ages 4-11 all in one room together? Sure. There’s something magical and family-like about it. But someday I’ll feel just as sentimental about the environment of the new classes. It always happens eventually. My job now is to make memories worth missing as we continue to grow.

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