First Day of School

 

I just received a photo of my grandson on the first day of school via e-mail. He started kindergarten today and his face says it all. He looks confident and stands straight wearing a brand new uniform. The photo brings me back to the day his father’s first day in kindergarten. He had his shiny new superman lunch box in one hand and a small book bag in the other. This is when book bags were simple and light. Kindergarten was a time for play and to engage in socialization. It was a time to begin to learn all the things that you would need to know the rest of your life.
My grandson on the other hand is wearing a big backpack and he looks so grown up. He already has a school resume having attended nursery school and Pre-K for a few years now; so school is nothing new to him. But he is attending a new school this year and so I hope he is able to adjust to his new environment.
But so many other children start school without any prior experience. Today, children are expected to know most of the alphabet, recognize the primary colors, identify geometric shapes and count to 100 before they put a foot inside the Kindergarten class. They are expected to have developed pre-reading skills like recognition of basic sight words. Kindergarten is simply not the same as when my son and daughter went to school. The exigencies are different and the pace is strict. Of course I devoted a lot of time to teaching them many things as a precursor to entering kindergarten but I did want some things to be discovered at school.
Today we need to make sure that five year old children are aware of their surroundings, understand the difference between good versus bad touching, and to develop some street smarts. Times have definitely changed. I just hope that my grandson’s experience is memorable and that he learns to love learning.
Since we live in different states I am making sure that I am a part of the experience. I told him I would write him a letter every week for him to practice reading. I send him activities to reinforce the skills in all areas. I want him to know me as a person and as someone who loves reading and learning. I want to restore some of those twentieth century skills like letter writing and good penmanship. I want him to be articulate and be able to write notes or messages longer than 140 characters. I believe that these skills are still part of building friendships and family relationships. I won’t mind if you call me old fashion. After all, I am a grandmother and I am entitled to be a little old fashioned sometimes.