I’m one of those moms who had a lot of anxiety and worries prior to my oldest child starting kindergarten (read all about it in part 1 of this story). I think I built it up in my mind so much that by contrast, the transition was a breeze. In spite of all of my fears, I was very excited for my son Noah. I certainly didn’t want him to pick up on my fears and be scared.
The first day just half of his class attended. My husband and I walked Noah to his classroom, helped him unload his school supplies, and find his cubby. We hung out and explored the classroom together a bit while waiting for everyone to arrive. When it was time for just the kids to head out, Noah happily and confidently walked to the door. He gave both of us a hug and didn’t look back. He didn’t cry and didn’t cling to me or ask me to come with him. He was so very brave. I did get emotional, but no tears. I was expecting him to have more trouble separating (based on how things have gone in preschool), but he did phenomenal. And his reaction made things a lot easier for me. The parents stayed in the room to go over various things with the teacher, and then we headed out. That was it. When I came to pick him up, his teacher said he did great.
One of my fears was the reduction of interactions with his teacher and knowing what he did each day, as compared to in preschool. In preschool, I had a chance to chat with his teacher at drop-off and pick-up, and got a short summary at the end of each day. Now there is hardly any interaction with his teacher, unless you as a parent seek it out. Because I pick him up, I can chat with the teacher after the buses have all left. And after the second day, she already had written me a couple long emails in response to some questions and concerns. She really has been very accessible and responsive. It has really helped me tremendously that she has been so available. And Noah is actually telling me a lot more about what he is doing at school than he had been in preschool. Of course, there is plenty I don’t know, but I don’t feel as in the dark as I was worried I would be.
On his seventh day of kindergarten, I took the opportunity to volunteer in his classroom for the entire class period. And I am so glad that I did. I spent the first part just doing prep work for his teacher, while listening in and observing the lessons and Noah. I was so happy that Noah continued with his day as normal in spite of me being there, rather than being distracted or clingy. I got to observe what they do during a typical day. And even more important for us, I got to assess Noah’s knowledge and behavior as compared to other students in his class. I had been worried whether he was really ready for kindergarten. He sat still and paid attention just as well as the rest of them. I also had academic concerns, and although he is certainly not the most advanced, his is right where he should be. I observed him answer questions, and answer them correctly. It took a long time in preschool for him to open up to his teacher and verbally participate. I think his years in preschool have been well worth it, because after only one week, he is doing awesome!
He has been in school for 2 weeks now, and he really is doing great. I am so impressed with Noah and how well he has adjusted. He has helped make the adjustment for me that much easier. And his teacher has been amazing regarding my concerns. I plan to continue to volunteer, hopefully once a week, and of course continue to speak with his teacher. It is just such a relief that Noah enjoys school and has adjusted so well. As a parent, I will always have some anxiety and worries, but am happy that my fears about kindergarten have diminished.
Sarah is mother to Noah (5 1/2) and Kyle (2 1/2). She lives with her husband in Plymouth, Minnesota.