Dearest Grey -
At MCS one of the greatest experiences is the home visit. It’s something I’d heard about even before you or Cash were students at the school. Stemming from the belief that we must talk about where we come from, where we live and who we are, home visits are a long-standing tradition at MCS and considered one of the most radical aspects of the curriculum according to a New York Times article written back in 2014. They happen during the spring of the first year, in the 4-5’s, thereby forging a powerful sense of community. And you Grey, had been preparing for yours for a very long time!
It was almost two months ago when Paulo asked if I’d be willing to be the first home visit. As a result you’d have both teachers come to your home (Paulo would be training Lesly for future home visits) along with four of your classmates. Without hesitation I agreed and a date was put on the calendar!
The night before your home visit:
“Mommy, is it a daydream or is my home visit really tomorrow? Pretending to be a tour guide, you continued, “I think I want to look around and see what it feels like for my friends.”
Not surprisingly it took you forever to fall asleep that evening. When you awoke at 5:00 a.m., giddy about your classmates coming over in just a few hours, I could hardly be upset. Your excitement was justified and simply adorable.
You led your friends — Yumna, Max, Asani and Genevieve — and teachers from school, past the Macaron Parlour, to the 86th street stop where you told them you could ride either the C or the B uptown train to 145th street. To my surprise you did this all on your own — I mean, talk about pride, confidence and the elicitation of independence! You showed them where Mommy gets her laundry done, where we buy our groceries, and the fish spot where you and Daddy get the best fried whiting in Harlem! When you arrived to the building (showing your friends which apartment buzzer to press), I could hear the sweet little voices getting closer and closer. It was such a joy to greet this special group at the front door and see the sheer happiness in your eyes Grey!
Paulo did an excellent job preparing everyone for the visit. First thing: shoes off and hands washed. After that it was officially time for your job as tour guide. You started in the kitchen, moving from room to room, explaining to your friends what the room was used for and something special about it.
The kitchen: Where Mommy cooks us food and sometimes I help her make frosting.
The living room: Where my brother and I play Mario games.
My bedroom: Where my brother and I sleep in bunk beds. Cash is on the top and I’m on the bottom.
The office: Where Mommy’s does her computer. And sometimes we do iPads in here.
Mommy/Daddy’s bedroom: All four of us get in the bed sometimes on Saturday mornings!
The hall closet: Where my brother and I hide during hide and seek. Oh yeah, and our snacks are in here.
Paulo masterfully focused your attention and corralled your excitement. He wanted to make sure you got to share all the things you’d told him were of great importance during a prep “meeting” with him earlier in the month. What you wanted most to share with your friends:
Favorite stuffies (Bowser and Yoshi of course!)
Wooden train tracks
Magnatiles (“that I build with my brother”)
Some of your Plus-Plus creations
Photos of the family on the living room wall
Zoomer the robot dog that Santa gave you
A favorite book
Jumps on the trampoline
When the tour and shares were finished, Paulo whipped out his bag of markers and questionnaires to fill out. What things did you see? Can you draw a picture of something you enjoyed from this visit? How did you get to Grey’s home? Subway? Bus? Car? All of this would be shared with the rest of the class later at school.
Then came the very best part: the meaningful snack. You were very specific in wanting to share your favorite strawberry macarons with your friends, supplemented by your favorite animal crackers: chocolate and iced.
Funny enough, none of them had ever had macarons before, but after trying them, they got a big thumbs up! Max even threw all ten fingers in the air in approval.
This was such a wonderful visit to your home Grey! It couldn’t have gone any better and will be an experience you won’t soon forget. You did an excellent job hosting your friends and teachers and sharing with them the important parts of your life here in New York City. I just love that MCS has this tradition. Besides being a host, you get to travel to different neighborhoods, visiting the homes of your fellow classmates, learning about their cultures and traditions, discovering surprising commonalities, and most importantly the various favorite snacks! It’s such an awesome experience that lays the groundwork for a tight-knit group all the way through!
Bravissimo Grey Grey!
I love you!
Always & forever, Mom