Starting Kindergarten, Part One

First Day of School

Photo: Schoology Blog

Yesterday, Anna’s new elementary school held their open house. We dropped off our school supplies, met the teacher and her assistants, and got a look around her new classroom.

So far, Anna’s a bit at war with herself regarding Kindergarten. One moment she’s excited about it, the next moment she’s scared and doesn’t want to go.

The part she’s looking forward to the most is show-and-tell. I have no idea why, but she is obsessed with show-and tell. Her leading candidates are her Angelina Ballerina Doll, her shell collection, and as of Monday afternoon her new Japanese Minnie Mouse (dressed in a kimono and slippers). I don’t know how often they’ll have show-and-tell, but her first three turns are covered.

Other times she says she’s done with preschool, speech school (her private speech therapy), and swim class, and that’s all the school she’s taking. No Kindergarten. She is not going.

I think she’s just anxious.

Truth is, we’re anxious too. She’s our first child—our only child—and up until now the most she’s been away from us was a two hour preschool class once a week. Starting Thursday, she’s going to be away from us three hours each day, five days a week. We’re not sure how she’ll handle it, or how we’ll handle it. I think she’ll do better than us once she starts going, but we’re still both worried. What if she throws one of her huge fits? And then there’s her Apraxia. Her teacher knows about it and I hope her assistants do as well, but I’m not sure how the kids will react.

Yesterday was a good sign. She saw her friend Martha—they met at the playground two summers ago—and we found out that they’ll both be in the afternoon class. A familiar face should help ease her transition. She also chatted with a couple of girls while we waited in line. They didn’t seem to care about her speech—they were too busy comparing favorite princesses. Another good sign.

Our other fear is the size of the class and if Anna can handle being in such a large group. She has always been the center of attention with us of course, and even in preschool she never had more than seven other kids in her class. Now she’ll be in a class of more than twenty (I’m not sure of the exact number yet). Even with the teacher, the teacher’s aide, the student assistant, and at least one parent volunteer per day, she’s still going to be dealing with about a five-kid-per-adult ratio. Not bad, once she’s used to it, I just wished they’d been able to keep the second teacher. I guess I’d better get used to being frustrated by school budget cuts. Until people get it through their heads that education has to be a priority, and that higher priorities deserve higher funding, nothing is going to change.

But the visit went well, all in all, though Anna got bored by the end. I can’t blame her, I got a little bored too. We had to wait around for the assembly for a half an hour while the rest of the parents and kids toured the classrooms, and then when we got there Anna had to sit down—in a gymnasium. She knows that gyms are for running around in and she wanted to run. It was disappointing and she got a bit cranky at the end. Worst of all, she didn’t quite get the difference between yesterday’s visit and Thursday’s first day of school. This became apparent when her Grandma asked her how she liked her new school:

“Kindergarten was sooo boring today!”

Julia took Anna aside and reminded her that today was an open house and that her first day of Kindergarten was Thursday. “And what did Mommy promise?” Julia asked.

“My Kindergarten class will be funner.”

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