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Preparing for the First Day of School

by Jayda

The first day of school preparations are in full swing. My oldest son, JWS, will start half-day senior kindergarten in September. Here, in Ontario there are two grades of kindergarten: junior kindergarten (JK) and senior kindergarten (SK). Junior kindergarten begins at age 4 and senior kindergarten at age 5. Since we did not live in Canada last year, this will be the first year JWS has attended school.

We are all having mixed emotions about this milestone.

Anxiety.

We are anxious about the unknown. For JWS this is the unknown of what to expect. He has never met his teacher, seen his classroom, or taken a school bus. He doesn't know any of the other children in his class.

For me,  it is the unknown of how will he 'do'. Will he like it? Will his teacher and peers talk to him and treat him in a loving, kind way? Will he be bored, discouraged, or will he be stimulated and eager?

What will the days look like, for LLS and I at home? Will LLS be lost without his big brother or will he embrace the time to himself/with me ?

Excitement.

JWS is excited to go to school to learn some 'stuff'. He has been counting down the days.

I am excited for JWS to experience school. I am excited for him to make new friends, learn new skills and have experiences independent from home.

Pride.

I am certain he will do very well at school. He is a confident child. He easily makes new friends at the playground. I am proud of him and the wonderful, kind, loving, inquisitive 5-year-old he is today. I am proud of us (his parents) for our parenting philosophies that I believe have shaped him and fostered his confidence.

Here are some of the things we did to prepare for the first day of school:

1. We made a routine folder. I took photos of JWS doing all the things he will need to do (eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, play, eat lunch, put on shoes/coat) in order to get ready for school. Luckily, this year, we have all morning, since he is going to afternoon, half-day kindergarten. I will let him choose the order that he wants to do them in. This will be a nice visual reminder of what he has done and what needs to be done. He is a visual learner.

2. We attended our school district school bus safety course for first time riders. JWS is still undecided if he want to take the bus to school or not. I wanted him to be prepared, whatever his decision. He was very excited about the bus. This course alone relieved a lot of his anxiety.

3. We went school shopping (supplies and indoor shoes), just the two of us. To my surprise he is very possessive over his supplies and very happy to use it everyday. He likes to practice writing the letters, something he learned on his own.

4. And finally, we drove the bus route to his school and played on the playground and spied in the classroom windows.

Are your memories of school influencing how you portray school to your children or how you prepare them for school? Sometimes I catch myself projecting my emotions on JWS. This is how I felt therefore he must feel this way to. I have to stop myself and allow him to have his own feelings, positive or negative.

What did you do to prepare for the first day of school?

Jayda Siggers is a Mom of 2 ( JWS, 6 and LLS, 4), a nutritionist, a coach at Clean Plate Cleanse, a master mediator living under a co-dictatorship, whole food advocate, trying to live a little greener everyday.