Starting School, Then and Now

Last week, our TV station asked for pictures of us starting school. We posted these kindergarten pictures to our website and asked viewers to share their pictures and memories, too.

Luckily, we were driving two hours to my parents' house to take the kids to the Cuming County fair. I grabbed my kindergarten school picture and found a picture of me on the first day of school.

It’s so fun to look back at these “old” pictures. The memories come rushing back, just like it was yesterday. I remember the green rug I had for naps and my Holly Hobby lunchbox. I attended a country school and had six in my class. We started kindergarten in January then; we didn’t even go a full year. I was shy, too. My mom had to walk me into the school. And I had my classmates ask the teacher questions for me!

I now think about my two kids starting school. Sure, the anticipation and mix of emotions are still the same, but the settings have changed a bit.

My kids attend Lincoln Public Schools. Here, they may have 20 students in their sections…and that’s part of three or even six sections of their grade! My little kids have to be much more aggressive than I was at their age. After we drop them off at the school, and they have to find their way through the maze of kids, parents and teachers to their teacher's line. They have to memorize their lunch number. And they need to be able to ask questions!

Even the school day and the curriculum have changed drastically since the 1970s. Both of my kids attended all day kindergarten…no rugs, no starting at the second semester. Last year, Olivia was writing stories to go along with her drawings and working on math problems. Even the story problems Jacob was working on in third grade were challenging for me to understand. (“The hardware store has 10 jars with 1,000 nails…” Just the thought of story problems sends a chill down this journalism major’s spine! Lol) Needless to say, times have changed.

But, the emotions are still the same. Children are dressed in their back-to-school finest, empty backpacks are perched on little backs ready for assignments, and moms are wiping away the tears… tears of sadness for missing their babies, and of joy for yet another promising school year.

As I snap some pictures, the kids run off and begin to learn. And someday, they’ll look back at these first day pictures and remember a simpler time, too.

Happy Parenting everybody!


About the Author...
Taryn Vanderford
Taryn Vanderford is an Emmy-winning journalist who currently works on "First at Four", "Pure Nebraska" and "Moms Everyday" for 10/11 and Gray Television.
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