We’ve almost made it to the end of our daughter’s first year of school. It still seems like she should be toddling around with a pacifier, but she is almost a kindergarten graduate and ready to move on to the big time world of first grade. While, I’ve certainly spoken out about some issues with public school and the guilt trips that get thrown your way (please buy a t-shirt, water bottle, pizza kit to support our school!), it really is amazing what a year in kindergarten can do for a kid.
Wow, Mom, I Can Read That
Yes, my kindergartener has been reading since this past winter. I’d love to say it’s because we’ve read to her since she was one day old, but kindergarten really takes credit for this huge achievement. She knew some letters and basic words going in, but now she can read and write just about anything. As you can see from the signs she leaves all over the house, the spelling hasn’t quite caught up, but I’m sure it will come later. She is super excited to come home almost daily with new words that she can read and recognize.
How Did You Get 24 Kids to Do That?
When I’ve been a visitor to my daughter’s class, it is amazing how well behaved and organized the classroom is. I’ve watched one teacher get all 24 kids to sit still and orderly while she counted out and distributed candy that was gathered from the homecoming parade. When I have a hard time getting one kid to brush her teeth or pick up toys, this is a truly amazing feat, and I was in awe. Kindergarten teachers are the true rock stars of the world.
Practical Life Lessons
Kindergarten has been a great way to learn life lessons. One day we were running late and didn’t make it before the final bell rang. I was mortified, because being punctual is very important for me. I don’t think it ever really sunk in to my six year old, though, until she had to stand in line for a tardy slip and then be late for class. We also talked about how being late affects the teacher’s plans for the day by disrupting them when someone walks in after class has started. Since then, she has been up and ready with minimal argument.
We’ve also used the school book fairs as financial teaching tools. I believe they have had four fairs this year. Before a book fair, the kids get a flyer with all the books that will be available for purchase and how much they cost. We have let our daughter use her own money if she wants to buy a book. She studies the prices and decides which one she can afford. She also doesn’t want nearly as much if it’s her own money. Sometimes, she decides to save her money, and we get library books instead.
The other really neat thing kindergarten has taught her is that you can be rewarded for good behavior. All the students have a card for each day. You get one warning if you misbehave, and then the card is “turned”. A behavior folder is sent home daily with either a star for good behavior or an explanation of why the student’s card was turned. Parents have to sign every day that they saw the folder. If the student’s folder is signed every day for the week, a prize can be chosen from the prize box. I think it’s a good lesson that shows consequences for your actions. Do the right thing, you get a reward. Don’t behave, and you get nothing.
I often wonder when life stops being this simple. Is it because we make it harder or is it really that hard? I know that the problems you face as an adult are more complex than sharing toys and not speaking out of turn, but can’t we apply these same kindergarten concepts to real life?
-Enjoy every day, and cherish learning new skills.
-Think about how your actions affect not only yourself, but others.
-You can’t buy things you don’t have money for.
-You don’t always have to buy something because it’s offered.
-There is always a consequence for your behavior, whether it’s realized today or down the road.
When life seems complicated or when we are having a hard time with a decision, maybe we should remember what we learned from kindergarten. It might be surprising how simple the answers can be.
What adult decisions can you trace back to kindergarten? Do you think we make our lives more complicated than they have to be?