Anna has been in first grade for a little over a week now, and she seems to be settling in. Last week, I wrote about the adjustments she needed to make: she has handled all of them well.
A new teacher? So far, so good. Anna likes her new teacher: maybe not as much as her Kindergarten teacher, but I’m not surprised. Ms. Linda was special, and she and Anna clicked right from the beginning. It’s not every teacher that so inspires a child that she wants to be a teacher too within the first week of school. And despite their differing opinion of the Ducks vs. the Beavers (Linda is a die-hard bleed-green-and-gold Duck fan) Anna will always have a place in her heart for Ms. Linda.
A full day? She loves two recesses, she loves snack time, and the rest of the schedule works for her too. She’s settled right in with no problems.
Different kids? She now has a new “second-best friend” a girl named Dakota whose love of princesses and fairies matches Anna’s. Her “first-best friend” is her best friend from last year—no surprise there—but she’s warming up to the new kids quickly, just as I thought she would. She never has trouble making new friends.
Desks? They don’t have desks, they have tables. The only change is an assigned seat. It seems like Anna’s new teacher has found the ideal transition stage between the “sit on the carpet and rotate around the room” approach of Kindergarten and the “sit at your desk all the time” approach of the higher elementary grades. She should have no difficulty making the switch to a desk of her own in another year or so.
1) Anna is growing up fast—too fast for me, of course, but at just the right pace for her. The first day Julia and I both walked her back to her class, met her new teacher, and—along with the rest of the parents—got to stay for the first hour or so until the kids settled into a routine. On the second day, I walked Anna back to her classroom, on the third day, to the door of the K-2 wing, on the fourth day to the door leading to the dooryard opposite the K-2 wing, and on the fifth day to the door of the school. That’s where we say our goodbyes now. I walk her across the parking lot, give her a quick kiss, and send her on her way. She walks through the building to her room all by herself. I’m so proud of her.
2) Anna has a head start on the most important part of the curriculum so far: reading. Each day, she brings home a new book along with a new “main character”—a stuffed animal that matches the book. Her teacher’s goal is to get the kids to read at least ten minutes each day as their homework. That’s nothing for Anna: she’s the reigning Kindergarten Read-a-thon champion! She reads at least an hour a day, every day, often more. But she enjoys bringing home books—she loved library day last year—and the accompanying character makes it even more fun.
3) Nobody writes letters. Her ongoing classroom writing assignment this year is letter writing: you know, the kinds that go in envelopes with stamps. I can’t remember the last time I hand-wrote and mailed a letter. Like almost everyone these days, I use email and social media. So it was a challenge to find six people we knew would be willing to write her back. We finally got a list though: Julia’s mom, my dad (who still writes notes to us: he doesn’t own a computer), Anna’s Godparents, an aunt, a cousin, and—in a stroke of genius—Julia’s first grade teacher. I think Anna’s teacher will appreciate that.
So all in all it’s been an adjustment—for me more than for her—but I’m managing and she’s excelling. I knew she would.