Months in advance of the start of this school year, we decided to send Lil Pig to the full day kindergarten program at his pre-school. After weighing all the pros and cons given our current family situation (ie. academic needs, class size, our jobs, sister at the same school, cost), this decision made the most sense.
Well, three days ago, Lil Pig started kindergarten. There wasn’t as much hoopla for us since he was staying at the same school with many of the same friends moving into the kinder class. Admittedly, I did little to prepare him or ourselves for starting “real” school. So, much to my dismay when he came home and said that he didn’t like kindergarten because it was “boring”, missed his former teacher, and wanted to return to pre-school, I was surprised and distraught. We consoled and reminded him that he’s a big boy, ready for the exciting adventure of kindergarten. We asked him specific questions to see if we could get to the bottom of his boredom. After about 10 minutes of talking with our 5-year-old, we managed to conclude that he wasn’t bored, but in fact, he didn’t like the academic nature of kindergarten. After all, there was far less play time in kindergarten than in pre-school. This is a portion of the week one newsletter I received from the teacher:
This is all for the month of September! For Montessori kindergarten! Rigorous enough?
Like every other parent out there, I wondered if we had made the right decision. Was full-day kindergarten too much or did our son simply need to learn how to be a successful full-day kindergarten learner? I couldn’t sleep that night as I tossed and turned while praying intermittently that the next day would be better.
You see, regardless of how long I’d been an educator and helped hundreds of students (and their worried parents) begin their public school experience in kindergarten, I had momentarily forgotten everything I’d learned from experience.
1) It’s often the parents (me) that have a harder time with the transition than the students.
2) (Most) Kids are incredibly resilient and adapt to change sooner than later.
3) Sometimes it takes time to adjust to a change, even when it’s a good change.
4) Knowing our child, we chose the best educational environment for him.
Yet after one day, I was sleepless with worry because more than anything else I wanted to ensure that he loved school and loved learning.
Fortunately, the next two days of kindergarten were far better. Lil Pig came home a happy camper and better adjusted to the changes of being a big kid. A kindergartener.
What did I learn from all this?
See the aforementioned 4 points. Plus, no matter how old a child, a parent never stops worrying. For those of you parents with older kids perhaps transitioning to middle school, high school, college, or getting married and beyond, you are in the good company of other worried parents and always remember point numbers 1-3 above.
How has the start of the new school year been for you and your kid(s)? I’d love to hear from you and as always, thanks for reading!