You and I- we go way back. 2003 to be precise, when I became a kindergarten teacher. Man, I didn't know what I was in for! There is no exhausted like kindergarten teacher exhaustion in the first few weeks of September. I quickly learned singing is survival in kindergarten and we sang throughout the day! Back then, we painted, played, celebrated. We had Teddy Bear Tea Parties and a Q and U Wedding. I thought I would always be a kindergarten teacher.
Was it you who changed or I? Maybe we both did. When I came to you, I was single and still a relatively new teacher. You were pre-Common Core and much more relaxed. As the years went on, you became more rigorous. Less play. Tests. Quadruple the amount of sight words expected to be learned. I got married and had two children. We went our separate ways- I left you for the upstairs third grade classroom and pushed you out of my mind.
Till now. You see, Kindergarten, my son, Alex is about to join you. A different town, a different school, but Kindergarten all the same. He is my pride and joy. He is the "bear of my heart". He's nervous and I'm nervous. You would think I would know exactly what to expect, having been there-done that for years as a teacher. It's all different when you are the parent. The postcards I used to send- well, we got one from Alex's teacher. It meant so much. Now I see how all those little touches really do mean something to a family about to send their most precious person out into the world.
So, Kindergarten, go easy on him. Excite him. Embrace him. Play music and encourage him to dance. Bring out the paints and playdough. There is time for sight words and number bonds. Don't label him or sort him or rank him. Let him feel loved and comfortable, safe and happy. Fill him with wonder and joy to be a learner in school. We've done our best to teach him to be a good person- to be kind and respectful, considerate and polite. Please keep teaching him those lessons because they are the most important ones.
Kindergarten, I loved you once upon a time and the truth is, I still carry you in my heart. Please take care of my little boy.
A Former Kindergarten Teacher/ Current Kindergarten Mom