Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kindergarten—8 weeks in

Perhaps I have not made it clear on here yet, but Kindergarten was one of the biggest things to hit our world lately.  It has been a HUGE transition, for many reasons.  For one thing, since Joseph was born I have never worked five full days a week, so one of the biggest changes is just the amount of time that he is away from me.  Kindergarten here is 7:45-2:30, then since I work until 4 most days or have class, he takes the bus to a home childcare four days a week.  This is so different for me.  Also, I have also been very close to both of his home childcare providers and his teachers at the childcare center he attended.  The childcare center he went to for the last year and a half also happened to be a place where I had previously worked and that shares staff with the place where I now work, so I knew A LOT about what went on there each day.  Our local elementary is not a place I know that much about and I have never been involved with kindergarten since I attended.  Speaking of which, kindergarten has changed immensely since my day.  Besides moving to full day it is VERY structured and academic, whereas my kindergarten (at least as I remember it) was play based; mostly focused on the social experience, with some experiential learning thrown in.  I think Joseph and I were both pretty resistant to this in the beginning.  (Bad mom).  I had heard all about how academic pressures have changed, but to see it in practice with my own child has been shocking.  Oh, and there was that phone call from the principal the second week of school!  At work!  Right while I am helping mom’s with their parenting skills.  That felt great.  Apparently Joseph and his bud (a similarly to Joseph strong willed child) disagreed about whether a sticker was shiny or not (what?) and then poked each others with pencils.  Luckily, I had heard form another mom, whose son seems wonderful to me, that this had happened to her.  Also, since 2 out of the 8 kids in Joseph’s class were involved, he wasn’t that singled out.  It’s a small school, they are being proactive, and it worked—nothing like that has come up again (listen to all that rationalizing!). 

HOWEVER, we are now somewhat adjusted.  Overall Joseph seems to enjoy it.  And there is no doubt that he is learning lots of academics, as he can now pretty much read (slow, halting, sounding most words out, but memorizing them quickly). !!!!!  (To again compare to my experience, I believe that reading was taught in first grade.) Suddenly he is very interested in letters and sounds and having lots of fun with it, which has proven to be enjoyable for all of us.  Early on Joseph did complain that he didn’t like kindergarten since they made him use lowercase letters. Ha! We just looked around the house and saw all the lowercase letters, so he realized why. I love seeing him use his little noggin so intently.   Still I am learning and thinking about our public education system and how it is changing.  Also, Joseph thinks going on the bus is wonderful and loves his new afterschool place.  He has made a very good friend there (a first grader).  Kickball (which he plays every recess), the food program, and the banking program are also big hits and mostly what we hear about. I also love that his reading buddy from last year, who is now a fifth grader, is still a very close friend! 

So—just a bit of stream of consciousness rambling on the transition to kindergarten, phew!

Playing on the playground at the ice-cream social the night before school started.  Joseph was right in on the action as always!


Trying to get a first day of school pic is hard work!




Getting right to work on the first day



“What did you do to get ready for kindergarten?”


Joseph: “I counted to 100.”  I also forgot to get a picture of it, but his “Hope and Dream” for kindergarten was to learn to read.


Self portrait


A little book that came home today: “All About Joseph.”  The text reads, “I am 5 years old. I like to eat macaroni and cheese. My favorite color is red. I live with my mom and dad.  My favorite thing to do is draw robots.


Dream big Joseph!  I like that he included a flag, chair, desk, and black clothing.

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