School Days Archive

Professional Kindergartener

It’s been about three weeks of kindergarten and so far, it gets a thumbs up. Everyone is happy and we are getting into the groove of the new schedule.

2nd day of kindergarten and it was just as strong as the first!

2nd day of kindergarten and it was just as strong as the first!

A week before school started, Madelyn got her placement for her class and she ended up in a K/1 split. I was pretty happy about it because I’d heard amazing things about the co-teachers who were doing the K/1 and I knew she could handle the challenges that come with being in a split class. As a teacher, I know that the split classes usually house kids who are independent workers and catch on quickly. I was in a K/1 when I was in kindergarten and I turned out OK. I was super excited for her to have that influence of the older kids while being surrounded by other kindergarteners who were just like her.

The same day we got the assignment, we also happened to meet her teachers. Madelyn was smitten. She thought they were so, so sweet and bright-eyed and I thought they were so, so creative and inspiring. We both walked off campus that day like we were walking on air. The first day of school could not come soon enough!

Madelyn's favorite part about elementary school is hanging up her backpack on the hook. It's the little things.

Madelyn’s favorite part about elementary school is hanging up her backpack on the hook. It’s the little things.

But two days after receiving our assignment, I received a call from the principal that a surge of kindergarteners had just registered and it was enough to make a whole new K class so the split dissolved, a new teacher was hired, and Madelyn would be in this just-created kindergarten class. My heart sank; everything I had wanted for her was busted and now we didn’t know this new teacher. The fear of the unknown was strong.

The first day of school was the first time we got to see her teacher, and Madelyn came home and reported that she was very nice. I didn’t get much else home for the first two weeks, so other than the hellos and goodbyes we exchanged at drop-off and pick-up, I didn’t have any interaction or information about the class. What mattered most, though, was that Madelyn was happy.

In the meantime, she was making friends and learning her way around a new environment. As a mom who was super involved at the preschool level, I knew all the kids and the teachers and everything that was going on in and out of the classroom. In elementary school, though, I had no idea what she was playing at recess or the order in which she was eating her lunch. I didn’t know the routines of the class or who her real friends were. This part has been the biggest adjustment for me. Also, Arielle comes to pick-up sometimes and she wants to walk around — everywhere! — and squeals in delight when she sees her big sister coming out of the gate. These are things she didn’t care about just a few months ago when we were doing the preschool circuit.

Reunited and it feels so goooooood

Reunited and it feels so goooooood

In the last week or so, I’ve gotten to know some of the other parents and everyone seems so nice. Madelyn talks about the same two girls from her class all the time, so I know she’s making friends. I am so happy for her because I really like these new friends and their moms a lot. Knowing that’s in place makes elementary school feel a lot less isolating and more like we are going through these experiences together.

Madelyn always wants one more hug or smooch or wave goodbye in the morning before walking into her classroom with a big smile on her face. I will give them to her as long as she'll let me.

Madelyn always wants one more hug or smooch or wave goodbye in the morning before walking into her classroom with a big smile on her face. I will give them to her as long as she’ll let me.

Last week was Back to School Night and Bryan and I had a date night out to meet the teacher and learn more about the class. It couldn’t have come sooner! I was so excited to have my questions answered and learn a little bit more about how Madelyn spends her day.

I am glad to report that not only is the teacher so sweet, but she’s very cool and approachable and keeps it REAL — yet still very professional! — so she is right up my alley. Of course I am so glad that things worked out the way they did, and I know the days will just get even better and better as the class grows together. I signed up to volunteer in the class one day a week, and I can’t wait to see Madelyn and her friends in action.

And this should not be a shocker, but when I saw that the “Room Parent” duty was still blank on the teacher’s volunteer sheet, I couldn’t let it remain empty. So, I filled in a random person’s name. No, just kidding. I wrote my own. I am such a sucker.

Oh! And homework has started! The first two weeks that the homework folder came home, I thought it was pretty weak. But now I see that those two weeks were practice because THIS week, homework got real. I don’t even mean that in a bad way, but it’s totally digging into the curriculum now and it’s not just coloring stuff. Thankfully, Madelyn absolutely loves homework. I know her tune will change eventually, but for now, she wants to complete her entire week’s packet of work the first night she gets it. I have to pace her, otherwise she’ll finish it all in one night. Thankfully, nothing has been hard or new for her since she’s been reading and spelling for a while now, but she enjoys the process of thinking about the work and always wants to do a little extra. If only college scholarships were based on kindergarten work ethic and standards knowledge.

So at just a little under a month, I give kindergarten an A+. I was nervous for this adventure to start because leaving our preschool bubble was so bittersweet. It’s been a big change for me as a mom: out the door on time; productive mornings to run errands and prepare for the week; oh yeah and taking care of a toddler; working part time; doing homework in the afternoons while also thinking about dinner and what to make and did I go grocery shopping because I don’t have ingredients; getting both girls to bed with actual bedtimes; cleaning the house watching TV before bed. But now that we are feeling like a professional kindergarten family, things are great and becoming more and more comfortable. The schedule is falling into place. The routine is good for everyone. I’m sure I’ll have it all down pat just in time for Thanksgiving break when we have nine days off.