Starting Kindergarten, Part Two

Anna in line

In line on her first day of Kindergarten

Anna’s been in school for two days now, and after I’ve picked her up each day we’ve had the same conversation:

“So Anna what did you do in school today?”

“I don’t remember.”

A typical five-year-old’s response, but after some prompting it comes back to her. Yesterday, she told me how her class has a color-coded system for tracking behavior.

Or as Anna put it, “I got a green card today, so I got a gummy bear.”

You’ve got to focus on the important stuff—like candy. So as we talk some more I find out that all the kids start out with green. If they keep it all day, they’re rewarded, but if not . . .

“Yellow is if you don’t sit criss-cross applesauce like the teacher says to.”

So yellow is a warning card, like in soccer.

“Red is if you don’t play nice.”

Also like soccer, though I doubt the kid gets ejected from class. But unlike soccer there is a worse penalty than a red card.

“And purple is the terriblest!”

I’m thinking that’s when the kid goes to the principal’s office and a parent gets called, but I hope I never find out.

So that was the first day. She also got her first homework assignment—writing her name using D’neilian handwriting (a style of printing designed to ease the transition to cursive). We weren’t sure how she would take to it. Up until now we’d been teaching her basic printing and she’s struggled as much with lack of interest as with lack of small-motor control.

But she did great. All her letters were legible and she liked the “little tails” on the lower-case letters. I think they reminded her her of the “tails” that Ramona Quimby puts on her Qs in Ramona the Brave.

Julia got her ready for her first day—the second day was my turn. I put her homework in her backpack, packed her lunch, and drove her over about 11 AM. I stood with her outside as she waited patiently in line and then watched her walk back to her room with her class. This was the first day I didn’t get to go in with her. I wondered “Would she keep her green card all day again?”

I picked her up at 2:05 PM. As I walked down to the playground I saw her standing outside the classroom door proudly holding up a piece of cellophane.

It was red.


“This is the color of the day for Monday,” she told me. Then I saw all the kids holding identical pieces of red cellophane.


“So tell me more about the color of the day?” I asked.

“We have to bring in something red on Monday.”

“Each week we’ll have a different color,” the teacher added. “The kids all bring in something on Monday, we’ll keep it the classroom for the week, and then on Friday we’ll have show-and-tell.”

Anna grinned as she heard those words.

“So we get to find you something red for show-and-tell?”


As we walked back to the car, I had to ask one more question:

“Did you keep your green card all day today?”

“Yes, and I got a gummy bear.”

“That’s my girl.”


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