Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pride

I am proud of Matthew. In so many ways I cannot even begin to explain properly.

I was terribly worried about Matthew starting a new school, another new situation, another new place, Kindergarten.

He is amazingly resilient and I have found that I am glad we decided to do pre-k last year with the loud bells ringing and the bigger kids roaming the halls and the constant schedule. It was more like the Kindergarten experience I remembered from when I was a kid. This new “world” of Kindergarten is very different then when I attended 31 years ago.

Kevin ran into a retired Kindergarten teacher at the local splash park recently.  In his usual Kevin way, he ended up having an hour long conversation with her. She had some good points and opinions.

She said today’s Kindergarten is more like first grade. Everything is amped up these days (I say with a whistle through my teeth!) She said that Pre-k is definitely about fun, play and a good place for kids to go before Kindergarten to get the idea of school. She confirmed that a full time Kindergarten schedule is probably the best for most kids.

The age range for kids is drastically different then when she started 30 years ago. She felt it was better to hold back younger ones who may be ready on one level but may not be ready on other levels especially the boys. She used herself as an example.  She said her own son could read by four but she held him back a year because he was immature, he was active and forcing him to sit still in a classroom setting simply because he could read was not a good thing. He thrived once he got into school a year later.

Matthew has already told me that he is not a fan of Kindergarten because they “sit a lot”. They do circle time which is longer than in his pre-k class and they do projects at their desks while sitting and he complained that he wants to play more. He loves the playground and the play areas but he said so far they have spent little time in those areas. He loves the gym and the library and is looking forward to going to those places again in the future.

I talked with him about the first couple of weeks of school always being an adjustment. It is about the teachers and kids getting to know one another and learning the ropes and figuring out the schedule. I assured him that they would eventually have time for everything and it always hard to come back after summer break where all he did was run and play and swim and jump and go to camp and do a million things every day of the week with Ashley and his sister and his parents.

Mostly this school thing is scary for me; it involves me and my decision making. Is this the right thing for Matthew? Is he going to hate school because of this one experience? Because I decided he needed to do this. This parenting gig is hard work; it is mentally taxing and worrisome. Mostly I am working through my own issues, my own sense of right and wrong, what the studies say or do not say; at the end of the day, I know my child. I know Matthew is smart and strong and he has a good sense of right and wrong, I know he is well mannered and listens to his teachers and I know everything will be okay.

I keep reminding myself that Matthew is adjusting and happy and working it out. He is making friends and having fun despite his minor boredom complaints. I know he really does deep down love the idea of school. I know he is ready and willing to learn and do this.

So why do I still feel so worried about it all?

UPDATE:  I was THRILLED to learn that the school received a 4th Kindergarten teacher at Matthew's school.  This means class sizes will be a more manageable size of 20 (or so.) It will mean changes for all 80+ kids but it is happening now after just the first week and a half. 

I cannot even begin to tell you how totally and completely relieved and happy I feel today!
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