My daughter just started kindergarten. Her father and I walked her to her door, met with her teachers, and said a quick goodbye. I was already emotional over the whole thing- the beginning of a new chapter, a longer school day, the realization that I didn’t have her at home till later in the day. We walked out of the room with tears in our eyes, trying not to do the ugly cry.
I loved preschool. We all loved preschool. It was a small, cozy place with a class size of less than fifteen students. There were two teachers in the room, plenty of toys and lots of space to move around. It was the perfect place for creativity and imaginative play. Kindergarten used to be that way and might still be in many places, but as the years go by, I continue to hear more and more how kindergarten is the new first grade. There are less toys, more of a focus on academics, and not much time for free play. It was a hard realization for me to come too. I worried, and still do worry, if she will have the same opportunities she did in preschool to be a kid.
Fast forward to three weeks later and my daughter can recognize sight words, has learned several new songs and routines. She loves to run around and play outside and socialize with her classmates in the cafeteria. One day she came home and told me all about a science experiment that involved a balance scale and a variety of objects. The class had to guess which item was the heaviest. As she rattled off the details I was amazed by how focused she must have been during the lesson. She remembered every detail. She’s learning, she’s engaged. I can see her wheels turning. And that is a wonderful feeling.
I’ll miss her messy preschool crafts. I’ll miss the laid back schedule we had (where tardiness and attendance was a little more lenient). The fact is, as we adjust to our new way of life, I can see that she is ready. I may not have been at first, as it’s hard to say goodbye to any stage in parenting, but now I am. I’m ready to help her grow and thrive and become the best little kindergartner she can be.