Thursday, September 15, 2011

Surviving the First Day of Kindergarten

Every innovation, every major accomplishment for our students and for our District starts with brave first steps like this one.

- Ric Dressen @EdinaSuper

My husband, daughter and I have been in Edina for almost five years now. We’ve learned to make the most of summer. This summer brought a lot of first-time accomplishments for our little daughter, who is now five. Riding her bike without training wheels. Diving into the pool by herself.  First time bungee jumping at the State Fair.  Wow!  

But to top all of these accomplishments, Nidhi attended her first day of Kindergarten last week.

She has been waiting the whole summer for this day, telling everyone she meets that she will be going to Highlands Elementary. Suddenly, or not so suddenly, the day is here. She gets onto the bus all by herself. Gives me a big squishy hug, a wave goodbye. Very calm, composed.  Probably a little anxious around the corner of her eyes, but the excitement of the bus ride masks all of the anxiousness. 

There is no exciting bus ride for the mom, though. I am just standing there, wondering if she will she be able to make new friends, able to find the bathroom. Will she miss the bus home? She has to transfer buses at Countryside. What if she is lost? 

At this point I start to think I am freaking out. Still, I am taking a picture, I am managing to say, “Have fun, honey!”  A small tear runs down my cheek, which I try to hide from my Kindergartener. I was warned by the other moms about having a Kleenex box with me, but you know only when you know.  Off goes the bus!

After quite a number of anxious glances at the clock, it’s finally time for my little one to be back. I am sure the three hours of her afternoon Kindergarten were a really a big adjustment for her.  Waiting, waiting, and there she comes back! So happy, her face reflecting a great achievement. I ask, “How did the day go?” She says, “Good.” 

And then she says, “I am so HUNGRY, Mom!”

As I write this, I am so proud and thankful that this very important day for my daughter was so successful.  Our family was involved in ECFE classes at the Edina Family Center for almost three years, and all of her preschool teachers and the Kindergarten Camp she attended helped her build much of the confidence she has today. The parenting classes helped with the planning and preparation needed to help her enter this new chapter in her life. 

So, I think I survived the first day of kindergarten. I’m wondering what’s next?

Sumana Ramesh

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