For the first week of elementary school, I fully intended to discuss the highs and lows of the week. I was looking forward to discussing the excitement of the first few days of class for a kindergarten school and the sadness of being teased by kids. But you know what, this first week of school was just as exciting and crazy for Scarlet and I, as it was for Abel. The biggest thing I’ve realized is that elementary school has changed so much since I was in Kindergarten.
I do keep in mind the fact that when I was in elementary school, I rode the bus because we lived 20 miles away from the school, so I understand the big difference comes in the fact that I can pick Abel up. But drop off/pick up procedures are really crazy. The line of cars for drop off during the first week stretched for at least a mile and a half down the street. Picking up kids is the same. Class lets out at 3:45 and Abel isn’t in the car until 4:00 or later. And they make the kids wear these stickers on their shirt every day. (What a waste of Avery labels, at least one for every kid, every day.) The stickers have the kid’s name and address and they say whether the kid is a walker, biker, car rider, daycare rider, or bus rider. It’s a great organizational tool, but it’s really wasteful money-wise.
Kindergarten kids don’t get naptime. I vividly remember having a nap time in Kindergarten, and no, I’m not mistaking preschool for kinder, because I went to a different place for each. We had nap time, and I recall the best napper got to be the wake up fairy and tap every kid on the shoulder with the magic wand. It was always the same girl and I didn’t like her teacher pet-ness. I disliked nap time in Kindergarten because of this. Abel told me on Wednesday that he really likes his teacher, but she always tells him to sit up straight when he’s tired. He gets 11 hours of sleep per night, so that’s not an issue. But when you’re 5 years old and you are learning something new every single second for seven hours, you’re going to get sleepy. I think they need naps.
But apparently there’s snack time. The kids get the option of bringing their own snack (well, Mom gets the option of sending it anyway) to have in the afternoon, because Kindergarten students eat lunch at 10:45 a.m. I like this, it’s not a big deal to send something and I’m glad he isn’t being restricted from learning by a grumbly tummy. But for the kids that are on the free & reduced lunch programs, their parents are likely not sending a snack, and the school doesn’t provide one as far as I’ve been able to tell, so I feel badly for those kids. I do know there definitely wasn’t snack time when I was 5 years old.
You know what hasn’t changed a bit though? Birthdays. Sure, there are bigger restrictions on parties. No you can’t bring treats. Yes you can pay for every kid in the class to get an a la carte cookie though. But the present provided is pretty much the same, you get a “card” and a trinket gift from the teacher while the class sings Happy Birthday to you and it really feels like the most special thing in the whole world (until you get home to your real birthday party.)
I’m glad we are able to send the kids to a good school and be confident they’re going to learn a lot and have a good time. But we’re consistently armed to fill the gaps that the public school system doesn’t teach. I just hope that my children get every bit of great education that Nick & I each got growing up. Even if they don’t get to have a nap.