Kent Place School in Summit New Jersey is nestled among a tree lined neighbourhood, surrounded by beautiful homes. It reminded me a lot of Abbotsleigh and Wahroonga where I work in Sydney. Except that we don’t have campus police haring around the place in their little golf cart cars. The school itself has been there since the late 1800s. I loved the grounds with their numerous bronze statues, recently rebuilt log cabin and a wigwam.
We were greeted so warmly by the librarian Deborah Afir. I had connected with Deborah quite randomly when I was researching schools in the area. Some of her girls had read Alice-Miranda At School and around the time I emailed her she was pre-ordering Alice-Miranda On Vacation. It was obviously a visit that was meant to be!
The day started with the Pre-K, Kindergarten and Grade 1 students who were wonderful listeners. They knew quite a bit about Australia too and I couldn’t believe that the Thorny Devil was mentioned yet again. I have no idea why it’s such a well-known Australian creature! The children have a fantastic Science program with two inspiring teachers – I would imagine that’s the reason why the students were so well versed in Australian animals.
The second and third grade students were equally terrific and it was a pleasure working with them . For lunch we went to the cafeteria which was certainly impressive both in terms of the physical space and also the array of foods on offer. Ian and I had mac and cheese which was delicious. There is also plenty of soup, salads, a sandwich bar and other hot food as well as frozen yogurt for dessert which is obviously very popular with the girls.
Deborah took us on a tour of the Primary School and we saw a recorder lesson – and I have to say that it was the best recorder lesson ever! The song was fun, the recorders melodic and it even began with a very cool rap. My memories of teaching recorder were pretty much akin to fingernails down a chalk board so this was a magnificent achievement!
I signed a great big pile of books for the girls and then met the Grade 4 and 5 students. Many of them knew Alice-Miranda and were keen to have more books. In fact I’ve already had emails from students asking that Random House in the USA to publish the rest of the series – and there was rumour of a petition too J