Wednesday, November 28, 2012
An Important Year Of 'School'
Grace’s kindergarten orientation session yesterday morning went brilliantly, something which surprised me following her behaviour the night before. In hindsight, I had built things up too much for her before bed. As I tucked her in, we chatted about her big day ahead and about getting to meet her new teacher before saying goodnight and turning out the light. However, our conversation must have left Grace lying in bed feeling anxious as she made an appearance in our living room numerous times with excuses of needing to go to the toilet, wanting a sip of water or pleading with me to lie with her. Sensing her nervousness, I initially responded with compassion and care. By the third of fourth time, I mumbled something about Father Christmas watching her and she disappeared back to her room without a squeak.
And so our session yesterday surprised me. Grace greeted her teacher confidently and introduced herself as well as her little sister. She skipped off to the drawing activity whilst I sat at another table filling in forms and she then proceeded to give her teacher a full description of what she’d drawn. She was the only child in our session I heard talk. When our half hour was over, Grace looked up sadly from her play dough creation and said, “But I don’t want to go home yet Mummy, I want to stay longer.” I smiled at the teacher and told her I’d been anticipating the opposite reaction. Of course yesterday, I was still within sight and the transition session in a fortnight’s time where Grace will spend an hour doing activities with her teacher in her new classroom without me will be the real test.
I returned home yesterday though feeling at ease and with a real sense of peace about the whole kindy journey ahead of us. Grace’s teacher was warm and sweet natured, greeting the children kindly and making the parents feel welcome and valued. It left me thinking about what people perceive as the most important year of a child’s primary school education. As a parent, I can definitely see the significance of that initial experience in a kindergarten or pre-primary learning environment as it sets the scene for the years ahead. As for my own kindergarten experiences though, I don’t remember much besides the bridal veil in the dress-up corner and the mud pies I made in the sand pit.
What has been the most important year of schooling from your own experiences?