My daughter started Kindergarten this year. It has been the biggest change in her little life, second to the birth of her brother. It has been a whirlwind of learning experiences for everyone in this family. There are new routines to be established, new faces to become acquainted with, and many new rules to follow as an elementary school mom rookie. I am trying my best to jot down the latter as I go along…
1. Get this kid to school on time! Yep, we are still working on this one without losing our sanity. We are still adjusting to the fact that kindergarten starts an hour earlier than preschool and where the teachers were pretty understanding of tardiness. But last week was a low point when my husband ushered her in to school after the second bell rang (gasp!) only to be greeted by the school Principal who is a lovely, but stern, woman whom I would never want to mess with. She kindly told Mia that her “Parents have to do a better job getting her to school on time in the morning.” If it were me, I probably would have had diarrhea of the mouth and quickly thrown my daughter under the bus by telling the Principal that Mia wouldn’t get her butt out of bed. But I have a feeling that would not have gone over well so I consider it a blessing that I was not there. She is right, though. It is most certainly our responsibility and is something I am working on improving by the time school is out in June.
Where was I? Oh, rules…
2. Make sure she is fully dressed. Again, no brainer, but still tricky. Last week, we forgot her coat. But in our defense she was dressed in her Halloween costume. But no coat has serious repercussions, like no going out to recess or no participating in gym or her teachers thinking her parents are just plain irresponsible. The stakes are so much higher in Kindergarten!
3. Learn teacher e-mail etiquette. School has come a long way since I was a kid. My Italian-American immigrant parents would not have had a computer, much less access to email, and I never emailed her preschool teachers directly, so this form of communication is foreign to me. How much or how little should I contact her teacher? I had no idea. Fortunately, our school sent out a teacher email policy that came out in last week’s school newsletter and before I can make any email faux pas.
4. When in doubt, consult the 2015-2016 Parent/Student Handbook. If I did not have this, I feel like I would be flying by the seat of my pants or calling the main office every day. Neither of those are good options when you are in the Big League called Elementary School.
5. Have a great baby sitter on hand to help out with all the evening parent events. I was very surprised that there have been quite a few school events at night during the week, and we are only in November. I have also found this is a good opportunity to show up at a school event for 10 minutes and then sneak in a date night. Why waste a perfect evening and a fabulous babysitter?
6. Don’t be afraid to make new friends. This goes for the adults, as well as the kids. It has been a whirlwind for us since the start of school, and we have already met some very nice people. This has also helped us feel a bit more connected to the community. So far, so good.
7. Every day after you drop your kid off at school, do a dance of joy. I have been doing this since the first day we brought her to school. Sure there were a little tears, but mostly there was dancing, after I left the building of course. My daughter really needed Kindergarten. She is in a warm, safe, strict environment where she cannot get away with being sassy or begging for the iPad. She is doing actual work and learning things like computers, music, art, reading, writing and meeting all kinds of kids, big and small. In other words, she is in great hands at a fabulous school. I celebrate this gift every day!
I am sure there are plenty more rules or things that I am unknowingly doing wrong, but I guess I will learn them eventually. Hopefully without anymore run-ins with the Principal. Wish us luck.