Time flies by so fast. It was like yesterday when I was sitting with my eldest daughter, talking about the change period that she would go through from Kindergarten to Elementary School. I was explaining her how they differ? Why should that change be made? What should she expect? Then she was asking me tons of questions. My goal was to make her see the new school in a positive way. The truth is that we had begun our preparation early, months before the Elementary School started. I will tell you my own experience and the way I handled the situation back then.
- I had bought her a book of pre-writing activities, so she familiarized herself with the alphabet. In that book, she could erase and re-write the letters with a special marker.
- I was reading to her many different books. We were analyzing the story, the main characters and the plot. The purpose was to develop the analytical skills.
- We were copying the names of the heroes from the books in a notebook.
- Learning to count and write numbers up to 100, by playing. We had made colorful cards with all the numbers and then we were creating various number combinations.
- We were writing the supermarket lists or the daily things to be done in my agenda, together. Thus, she learned to be organized.
- While preparing to cook, we were reading the recipes together. Ingredients and quantities, so she comprehended better the proportions.
- Every morning, on the way to Kindergarten we were passing outside the Elementary School she would attend. It was an opportunity to get her familiarized with the new school environment. We were watching the students running in the yard, while I was making comments about the beautiful colors of the building, the well-tended grass, the cleanliness of the space etc. I had also described to her, how a day at school would be, in details.
- I had pointed out to her that all the kids from the Kindergarten would attend the same Elementary School as her. That way, she would not have to be apart from her best friends.
- I encouraged her to express the concerns that she might had at the time, reminding her that both me and her dad would be by her side, if there was any kind of issue at school. We talked a lot. Thus, I created a feeling of safety and trust for her.
- I kept on reminding her that she should respect her classmates and be respected by them. Any opposite behavior from both sides would not be acceptable and would have consequences. The purpose was to strengthen the ability of empathy.
- After discussion, we had agreed that she would participate in extracurricular activities of her choice. That way she would develop new cognitive and motor skills, gain mental and physical health benefits and spend some free time away from school.
On the first day of school, she was excited and a little anxious at the same time. As we were walking to school, she was talking non-stop. I could feel the agony in her voice. So, I had told her that it was a new beginning for many children and that she wasn’t the only one experiencing that change. I had also told her that she should enjoy it and gain as much knowledge as possible from school, over the years.
“Mommy, did you like school when you were my age?” she had asked me full of curiosity.
I was honest with her. So, I didn’t hide that I was anxious at first as well. I explained to her that by the time I got used to evertyhing and things were gradually getting better and better. I can say that she actually felt relieved at that moment.
Certainly, early preparation to go through this important school change is quiet helpful. However, not everything is simple at first. There might be crying, outbursts, lack of concentration, while the child begins to realize that she is growing up and must become a responsible student. Before, she wasn’t obliged to sit still on a chair and do her homework quietly, instead, she was playing carefree all the day. It differs when the child experiences the situation in personal.
However, children need our support and patience all the way. No pressure and strictness is needed to make them study. There is the right time for everything and everyone. Some children learn faster, while some learn slower. After all, no child has graduated from school without having learned to read and write right? Give them some time and space, so they adjust to the new environment and circumstances easily. Once, I had heard that in order to understand how a child feels when writing for the first time, you should try as a right-hander, to write with your left hand. It’s not that easy right?
Two years have passed. We are in third grade. We have history class this year as well. Everything is going just fine. I am really proud of my girl! It is sad that pandemic affected our studying ability a lot during this year, but with a little positive thought and patience, everything will come to its place.
Good luck to all the children that will start first grade this year! Hopefully, next year distance education will be in past!
Share your thoughts and ideas with me! How did you manage your kid’s first year at Elementary School?