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Today is Alex's first full day of kindergarten, although a week ago, Alex had her first meeting with her kindergarten teacher. It was an hour-long "meet-and-greet", involving a few kindergarten kids and their parents. We all got a tour of the kindergarten room and Alex got to meet a few of her classmates. Oh boy! Alex starts SCHOOL!
These are Exciting Times for Alex!
Today is Alex's first full day of kindergarten. One week ago, we took Alex in for her (official) first day of kindergarten, which amounted to an hour-long meet-and-greet between a few kids, their parents and the kindergarten teacher. Then, starting on Monday of this week, Alex began attending kindergarten, but it was only for one-half the time (one hour, instead of two and a half) and with only half of the class.
The new way appears to "ease in the kids into kindergarten". I guess some kids have a difficult time being away from home, in many cases, for the first time.
Not Alex. She is hugely excited about kindergarten and loves going. When I picked her up yesterday afternoon, she explained that there were, "So many kids there, dad!" (Alex loves people, so will have no problem adjusting to school.)
She even has "homework" to do, every day (including weekends)!
For more about Alex's kindergarten class, her very first day, the teacher and even a slide show about "A Day at Kindergarten" ... use your "inside mouse" and click "Read Full Story"
Big Tour of a Room with Tiny Furniture
Mrs. Petit, the kindergarten teacher, is tall. She apologized to the parents for having to sit on such small furniture, but we wondered how she managed, day-after-day, stooping to such low heights to talk to small kindergarten students.
Starting last Wednesday and continuing till Friday, groups of five kindergarten kids, along with their parents, were invited for an hour-long "parent-teacher" meeting, in the kindergarten classroom. It was a chance for the teacher to meet her new students, get to know their parents, explain the rules and provide a tour. It was also a time to see how the kids would relate to each other, their new environment and a time for parents to ask questions.
We took Alex on her new "Trail-a-Bike" and we were the only people there that arrived via "pedal power"! School was already in session and the playground was filled with rambunctious grade-school kids.
Faced with an overwhelming new environment, Alex stayed pretty close to Mom and Dad.
It turned out that we arrived a bit early, so - as the kids filed in to class - we headed to the playground and let Alex swing and climb, until it was time for our "meet-and-greet" session.
Woodbank Primary School sits on a corner site. It's surrounded by pine trees, grassy ball fields and various playgrounds and equipment. It is a very nice looking school.
The school itself consists of three wings, each housing various grades (kindergarten through third grade). In the center is the administration area, staff lounge, library and access to the huge indoor gymnasium. Along each of the wings are classrooms and specialty rooms (music, computer lab, etc.) All the lower grades - including kindergarten - are located in the south wing and this is where we met Alex's teacher, Mrs. Petit.
She greeting everyone and then handed the parents a bunch of forms to fill out and then focused her attention on the kids, giving them a tour of the room. While parents scribbled, she then sat them at a table and got them involved in making a kindergarten "crown" (art project), letting them play in a corner, when they were finished.
Then she talked with the parents and met with them individually, in case they had any concerns or questions. After, she read the kids a story and by the time that was finished, the hour-long session was over.
We were impressed with the facilities and the instructor. It's hard to believe that the tiny little blob that emerged from between Rachel's legs, the one Dad was so afraid of when she was hours old, the one so dependent upon us for survival, is now 40 pounds, nearly 4 feet tall and starting school!
Let the Expenses, Chauffeuring, Activities & Scheduling Conflicts Begin!
Starting public school may be exciting for Alex, but it opens a whole other type of door for Mom and Dad. Suddenly, Alex has to be someplace, at a certain time. We're now faced with pick-up and drop-offs, either at kindergarten or day-care. She's got swimming lessons, in town, about 16 kilometers from home (which she starts this week too). They'll be parties, play-dates, baby-sitting, plays, sports and other activities too, which will all require a chauffeur!
When Scott was a kid, he remembers being assigned desks, scissors, paste and other accouterments of school. Now-a-days, it seems that many of these items are meant to be provided by the parents. Alex has already received a list of items that we must purchase for her (paper, pens, glue sticks, etc. are among the list). We've also been asked to provide a $15 check, to cover other "school supply" expenses. HA! So much for publicly funded education!
Soon we'll be buying cookies too, I suppose (at least we can EAT those!)
One of the kids in Alex's class has a severe peanut allergy. We've received a note, from the teacher, explaining that Alex isn't to take anything - that remotely contains peanuts - to school. We're asked to buy "peanut-free" grocery products and do everything we can, to prevent this special-needs child from coming in contact with a peanut.
OKAY, on one hand, I can appreciate the problem, but on the other, to expect the families of every child that this peanut-allergic child might come in contact with, to change their buying/eating habits ... is a tad much. Not sure where I stand on this issue, actually, but I guess I'll have plenty of time to cogitate on it, because unless this child moves or fails a grade, Alex will be a co-student in every grade through High School.
What's next? Wait ... I know ... Cheer leading, soccer, birthday parties, High School, *gasp* dating boys and University! I see a long list of expenses, coming our way!
A Day in the Life - At Kindergarten
I'm not certain how long ago this laminated book was constructed, nor how the activities have changed, but I suspect that it's fairly representative of what Alex's experience will be like, at kindergarten.
Oh, I mentioned that Alex has homework already. The teacher is trying to instill good study habit and I think that's great. The very first day, she sent the kids home with a calendar for the month of September and every day, there's "homework" to be done. Some things are quite simple (e.g., Draw a picture of something you like) and others are fairly more complex (e.g., compare and contrast the impact of transportation on the fall of Rome ... ack! ... that was from my University history exam ... wait a minute ... here's Alex's list ... "Have someone print the names of the people in your family. Can you read them?")
We're to mark each completed homework assignment with a star and read at least 20 stories to Alex, during the month (so she can enter a book draw)!
Let the homework, expenses, scheduling conflicts and activities BEGIN!