Kindergarten...The First Days, Sept. 13

The first few days of kindergarten are in the books. My 5-year-old seems to be adjusting...with a few little jitters.

How can you blame her? Starting school is a big deal. I remember when I was five and starting school. I was so shy that I was afraid to enter the school. My mom had to walk me in. And my school wasn't even that intimidating.

I attended a country school in rural Cuming County, Nebraska. Surrounded by cornfields, this little red, brick school only had three teachers and three grades shared one room. I had just six in my class….four girls and two boys.

My teacher’s name was Mrs. Lil, an older woman with salt and pepper hair and little triangular-shaped glasses. She knew the drill; she had been teaching for years. I was new and had no concept of the drill.

Yes, kindergarten was a bit different then…you could say a little simpler. I took my lunch in a Holly Hobby tin lunch pail. (Did anyone have a lunchbox like this?) And we had rugs…for taking naps! I remember mine had green stripes with a rubber back…basically a little bath rug.

Today, my daughter attends a beautiful Lincoln public school in Lancaster County, Nebraska. This county is full of cornfields; the schools are just a bit bigger. Olivia has around 20 in her class. But that’s just one kindergarten class out of six! So you can easily understand those first day jitters.

LPS does a great job of getting kids acclimated to school before it starts. Olivia had the chance to see her colorful room and meet her kind teacher. The kids have cubbies for their backpacks and coats. And instead of the old-fashioned wooden desks, they sit at tables labeled with their names.

Every morning the kids line up behind their teachers. Olivia was a bit concerned at first, but seems to have adjusted to this quite well. Her little body also adjusted to the all-day school schedule. No rugs needed.

She’s been enjoying the hot lunches at school, although she was worried about having to memorize her lunch number. Luckily, the school staff steps in to help with this, too.

I do see her growing up, even in these first days. Her vocabulary has expanded and includes the “hip slang” of little school kids. She also notices what her friends are doing…peer pressure already! Silly Bandz seem to be the “in” thing with the elementary kids. Olivia’s friend, Addy, gave her some of these fun shaped-bands the other day.

“Mom, can I please, please have some?” Olivia begged.

“Mom, everybody at school is wearing them,” my son informed me.

OK, so I’m off to find some Silly Bandz this week. Luckily, they’re only a few bucks…I hope.

And back to the lunch. Even though Olivia likes most of the hot lunches, she wants to take her cool leopard and pink lunch bag, too. All the friends are doing it. And it’s new and fun to take the lunch bag.

Olivia also received a sweet note from her substitute teacher saying how polite Olivia was at school.

And Olivia was there for a fallen friend. At recess, a little boy tripped on the playground and Olivia knelt beside him. She stayed by his side until a teacher could come to help.

And she even has some homework in kindergarten. Her homework calendar has daily tasks like singing her ABCs and writing her name three times.

Maybe it helps that Olivia’s big brother is at the school and could pave the way so to speak. Or maybe our little kids grow up a bit faster these days. Whatever the case, these first September days seem to be going well. And for me, it’s nice to relive these first days, too.

What are your memories of kindergarten?
And how are your kids adjusting to the first days of school?

I’d love to hear your "chalkboard chat"!


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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