Tonight is Back to School Night at our school. This night used to make me a jumble of nerves, but now, I find myself looking forward to it. I like meeting the parents and introducing them to their child’s first experience at elementary school. For some of them, this is their first child to go through school. For others, who have been through it before, I am sure that is just routine but I hope that I am able to give them a glimmer of excitement into the “magical world of Kindergarten.”
Having taught other grades, I can assure you that there is nothing quite like Kindergarten. It is so different from when I was growing up. Back then, it was still a half day program, we did a lot of playing and socializing. Now, we have a full day program. Reading, writing, math, social studies and science are all taught during the day. There are assessments and progress reports. So much to soak up in those five year old brains. There will be so much to experience and conquer, all while learning how to socialize, and become learners!
I tell the parents that their children will learn how to lose gracefully – there are twenty-two children in the class, they can’t all be winners all of the time! They will learn how to share and not talk while others are speaking. They will learn how to walk quietly in the halls and how to use personal space! There is just so much for those little minds to absorb!
I enjoy watching the faces of the parents as I tell them all of the things that their children will accomplish this year. Some of them look with amazement, wondering just how it is possible while others nod knowingly since they have been through it all before. The most important thing I like to tell them is to talk to their children about their days. Make them tell you more than, “good” when you ask them how there day was. I joke and say, “There are no secrets in Kindergarten. I probably know a lot more about you than you think I do, and in turn, you will probably learn a lot more about me than I could imagine. ” Children are like sponges. If we give them the chance to soak it all in without overwhelming them, they will thrive.