Last Monday marked my 12th first day of school as a teacher, my 5th as a Kindergarten teacher. I'd like to say I'm completely comfortable in the classroom after all these years, but the first day still ties me in knots and prevents me from sleeping. I'm always ultra prepared and usually don't finish everything I have planned. The day flies by and soon we are well on our way into a brand new year.
This year, however, I had a little extra bundle of nerves to contend with as my son started Kindergarten one classroom over. He's been on summer vacation since May, so he was fully settled into a leisure lifestyle of playing Lego's, riding bikes, and hanging out in his pajamas until at least 10 a.m. It also didn't cross his mind until about a week before school started that although he was riding to school with Mommy, he wouldn't be joining Mommy all day in her Kindergarten classroom.
So, being the book lover and Kindergarten expert that I am, we read The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing and Kindergarten Rocks! by Katie Davis. The Night Before Kindergarten tells about a group of kindergarteners as they prepare for the first day of school. The book begins as the parents and children are preparing for the first day of kindergarten. Upon entering the classroom the students discover that Kindergarten is a little bit different than preschool, but the changes are good. In the end it's the parents who are really sad about leaving their children at school, which my students and son find very silly.
Even with attending preschool, kindergarten can be a little daunting at times. I love The Night Before Kindergarten because it addresses the worries of heading to school, but has a happy ending. It's okay to sometimes be nervous or anxious about new adventures, that's what makes life exciting! I also gave my son a small stone to keep in his pocket on the first day of school. I kissed the stone and told him that if at any point during the day he was nervous or missing me he could reach in his pocket and rub the stone (sort of like the kissing hand). Of course, my son wound up having a fantastic day and he didn't even need his stone today (the 2nd day of school).