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 Post subject: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2015 11:27 pm 
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poopieboy is going to start Kindergarten this year, and I feel totally unprepared. I was homeschooled 100% of my childhood so I have ZERO experience or knowledge about how all of this works. And my husband is from England so he doesn't really know how American schools work either - for instance, he's really upset that we have to buy classroom supplies, because everything was provided when he was in school (I don't know if that's still the case).

I feel like this is the first time I'm going to be sending my kid into a situation that my upbringing didn't prepare me for, and I feel so totally helpless. What if he hates it? What if the other kids are mean? I honestly don't know how to deal with those things, because I was totally sequestered as a child (another story for another time perhaps, but relevant to how I'm feeling about this).

This is going to sound dumb, but can someone walk me through what happens at school? What kind of stuff should I tell him to expect? He's really excited about it, but like a typical 4-year-old he has a lot of questions, and I have very few answers. Also, our city has a free breakfast and lunch program provided for all kids, (which I think is really wonderful, because it cuts out the stigma of being a 'poor kid' who gets a free lunch), but I'm guessing that means very few kids take their own food to school. I don't want him to feel left out because he's the only one eating a packed lunch.

Am I worrying too much about stuff that probably won't matter?

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 12:30 am 
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don't worry pb, you are definitely not the first parent to be in this boat. I think even for parents who went to a regular school, a lot of things have changed in the last few decades so even what other kindergarten parents are expecting might not be what their kids' experience will be.

I recently lived with a first grade teacher (Waldorf school, so that's it's own thing in many ways) but it seemed like a lot of the start of the year was teaching them how to be students. Her students needed to learn things like finding their seat in the morning, how to raise their hand to answer or ask questions, stuff that I would take for granted after so many years of schooling but that I guess needed to be explained to me at some point?

I went to a Montessori school for kindergarten (which I actually didn't like and I ended up liking the public school I went to for the rest of elementary much better) and the things I remember learning ("learning") were letters, numbers, things like that. At that age I think a lot of it is just playing and learning social skills too. (But again, educational practices are different now than they were even 20 years ago.)

Does your school have an orientation closer to the start of school? Maybe you can start a dedicated school question notebook so anytime either of you thinks of a question, you can write it down together, and then you'll both be more prepared for orientation once it rolls around?


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 12:39 am 
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I think school has changed a lot and also schools everywhere vary and also 5-year olds aren't great at like, listening to a parent explain what school is like and then conceptualizing an accurate idea of it, so basically no other kid is going to know what to expect and kindergarten is basically all about teaching kids how to be in school and the teachers and staff are prepared for them to have no idea. Some kids may have been in Pre-K and know how to do things like get in line and raise their hands and stuff, but really it is going to be a lot of new stuff for everyone and they're going to learn together. I've worked in a bunch of Pre-K classrooms, less so with kindergarteners, but since plenty of kindergarteners haven't done Pre-K I'm sure it's basically the same expectation--a whole bunch of kids who have no idea what they're doing at the beginning of the year.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 7:42 am 
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My nephews' go to a school with free breakfast and lunch, and it's pretty normal for kids to bring their lunches sometimes anyways. Depends on what's on the lunch menu for the day (which they post online).

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 8:35 am 
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Have you gotten any books from the library about starting school? I know they have lots of them & that would probably be the easiest way to explain.

I also agree with what everyone else said. The only thing I'd add is you might want to google "school readiness" and check out some of the lists. I know kids are expected to learn to write their names in kindegarten these days so you may want to get a head start and practice tracing letters with him if you haven't already. Then there are these basics:


Play well with other children with minimal fighting or crying.
Remain attentive and quiet when being read a story.
Use the toilet on her own.
Successfully use zippers and buttons.
Say her name, address, and telephone number

Which reminds me, I still have to teach my kid his address/phone! I tried a while back and it didn't work so time to try again.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:14 am 
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Pb, from what I remember from being an elementary lunch lady, breakfast involves the kids getting there earlier than the start of the school day so you probably wouldn't have to worry about him feeling left out of that for 2 meals.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:02 am 
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Is the school that he will be going to a middle class school? a poorer school? I went to poor schools from K-12 and I never had breakfast at school so kids that went there early for school did. My mom made my lunch so although hardly any other kids brought lunch, it was ok though.

Also, the supplies, I don't know, I remember having to buy my own notepads and pencils, but otherwise everything else was provided. I think things have changed a bit.

I think he will be fun though :)

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:10 am 
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i went to public school K-12 and while im sure tons and tons of stuff has changed since then i think the food stuff probably isnt as stressful as you are thinking. like someone else said i think if you want to partake in the free breakfast the kid has to be there before school to partake so you could just skip that part i imagine. my mom always packed my lunch the entire time i was in school and i do remember at least in high school (i dont remember prior to that) most kids bought there lunch but i dont remember ever feeling weird or different or left out. it wasnt because i had a special diet or allergies or anything either it was just my mom packed our lunches.

these days kids have so many different allergies/intolerances, etc i cant imagine he would be the only one with a packed lunch.

i think someone's suggestion to google kindergarten preparedness is a great idea. i think there are some things that in general kids are supposed to know for that age bracket (similar to developmental milestones) but from what i understand kindergarten is basically getting a bunch of kids all from different backgrounds and at different learning stages and trying to get them all ready to enter first grade and be on the same page education wise. so you may have kids who were with stay at home parents, kids who were in day care, kids from a mix of the two.
kids who can count to 10 (or whatever is appropriate for that age) kids who cant count at all. kids who can sing the ABCs kids who cant etc.

good luck!
i think all parents are super nervous about sending their kids to school regardless of their own school background!

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:21 am 
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Just as an FYI not all schools do the breakfast thing before school. My sister's child had free breakfast served during regular school hours. Her kid ate two breakfasts for several months before she realized it ;) (I am sure she was informed of the breakfast, but she is not always with it). It was sort of a big deal for her because she wanted her child eating her homemade non-GMO food and didn't want her having school breakfast, but her daughter was really upset not to get to have the school food since she had gotten used to eating it already. She decided to just let her eat the school food BUT if you get the free breakfast it apparently has to have all the food groups and so even though her kid can't have milk they made her take a milk and then throw it away?! Sounded nutso but apparently is all about how they get their funding. (and if she had filled out forms and gotten a doctor note and had a sit down convo with teacher/principal/lunch lady she could have gotten the dairy requirement waived - but she felt that was too much of an ordeal).


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 1:14 pm 
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Thanks so much for all the info! It hadn't even occurred to me to google kindergarten preparedness (duh) so I will do that now.

I'm not so much worried about the breakfasts, I'm sure it's just a case of dropping him off later. I did hear from some people that because of the free lunch program, their homemade kids lunches were subject to all kinds of rules, and if they didn't meet the same dietary requirements as the school lunch then it was taken away and a school lunch was given instead. That seems crazy given how many kids have different allergies and stuff, so hopefully that's something I can work with.

I think otherwise he's pretty much ready. He doesn't know our address or phone numbers, but I have two months to teach him that. And wiping his own butt. No one tells you that teaching your kid to wipe is the hardest part of potty training.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 1:22 pm 
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If it makes you feel any better, I agree with the poster who said that all the parents are apprehensive, even if you've been to public school. Does your local kindergarten do orientations? Ours does.

And kindergarten readiness isn't a really high bar - there are lots of different checklists and it's funny, but at 3.5 Leela can do all the kindergarten readiness stuff except sit still for 20 minutes. I don't think we're ever going to get there. She is basically a tiny human tornado

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 6:49 pm 
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I also think that most k teachers consider it part of their job to help parents learn what to do since for many parents it will be their first experience having a child in school.

The food thing varies greatly from school to school. My school does not have snack time or even food for birthdays, but many do. You'll want to find out about all of that and plan a system that works for you, the teacher, and PB (like leaving Oreos at school as an emergency snack, etc.)

In general, I think kindergarten is the new first grade. By that I mean it's much more academic than it was when I was a kid. Kids are expected to begin to read and write independently before the year is over.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 10:53 am 
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I bet there's a room parent program you can sign up for. That would let you spend some time in the room to get an idea of what school is like. And you can observe the way poopieboy plays with his classmates since kids his age aren't always good at communicating. You're probably also allowed to eat lunch with him in the lunchroom if you want to observe that area, too.

The school will publish the menu ahead of time, so you might be able to send poopieboy with the same things his classmates are eating if he's really feeling left out and you're willing to go to that effort.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:49 pm 
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poopiebitch wrote:
What if he hates it? What if the other kids are mean? I honestly don't know how to deal with those things, because I was totally sequestered as a child (another story for another time perhaps, but relevant to how I'm feeling about this).



At some point he will hate it and other kids will be mean. I think every kid experiences that but for the most part all the kids I know love elementary school. My 2nd grader mostly has great days with the few bad ones here and there. Its part of school life! :)



Quote:
This is going to sound dumb, but can someone walk me through what happens at school? What kind of stuff should I tell him to expect? He's really excited about it, but like a typical 4-year-old he has a lot of questions, and I have very few answers. Also, our city has a free breakfast and lunch program provided for all kids, (which I think is really wonderful, because it cuts out the stigma of being a 'poor kid' who gets a free lunch), but I'm guessing that means very few kids take their own food to school. I don't want him to feel left out because he's the only one eating a packed lunch.

Am I worrying too much about stuff that probably won't matter?


Its normal to worry also. I still worry with my eldest right before the new school year is suppose to start! See if the school has orientations and visiting days. Our school has the incoming kindergarten kids come in about 2 times towards the end of May to meet the teachers, hear a story, do a craft. Its really great. Plus they have a nighttime orientation for parents. If you can't make it to those or they don't have them then call them and ask for a tour of the school during school hours.

They also have each kid come in separately to take a readiness test with one of the teachers. After the test the teacher tells us what we need to work on with the child at home over the summer. I didn't work on any of it though with my daughter :) She turned out perfectly fine and is a 5th grade reading level in 2nd grade now. Don't stress to much about how much he does and doesn't know. I've found that by 2nd grade all the kids catch up to each other and are on the same level with most things.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:43 pm 
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poopiebitch wrote:
And wiping his own butt. No one tells you that teaching your kid to wipe is the hardest part of potty training.


Lol us too! When the hell is my kid going to get the coordination to do this? I can't wait!!

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:31 pm 
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I am actually pretty scared about the butt wiping as Malka transitions into "real" pre-k next year. She is so far from having the arm length and coordination to do that still.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:18 am 
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poopiebitch wrote:
No one tells you that teaching your kid to wipe is the hardest part of potty training.

This is the truth!! OMG. It takes Beety (7) AGES to wipe his butt and then he still asks for (and needs) a butt-check. Raygold (5) sometimes wipes his butt, but usually just calls me in to do it.

And Vax? He just shiitakes in his diaper and then tells me he needs a prison shower. LAZY. ;D

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 4:46 pm 
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Sounds like an exciting time for your family! My kiddo was in kindergarten a few years ago and I was also really nervous. Our school is also in a free-lunch for all district which is great for the stigma reasons you mentioned. Our kid isn't strictly vegan so he has school lunch sometimes and a packed lunch about 75% of the time. It doesn't seem like a big deal either way. Like a lot of things, it might depend on your child's individual characteristics - if it is really stressful for him to be "different," then it might become an issue. My hunch is he'll have plenty of other kids who also bring lunch.

I also wanted to recommend that if your child has any "quirks" (not really sure what to call it) that are maybe not average for his age group, you might mention it to his teacher, either in a letter, email, or you can ask to schedule a short meeting. For example, he seems to have grown out of this, but we knew going into kindergarten that our son had a hard time with transitions sometimes and might need a bit more redirection than other kids and that a warning really helped him (like telling him in 5 minutes we'll be putting away the art supplies instead of just saying to put the art supplies away).

If you are are able to take a few minutes to introduce yourself to the principal, vice principal, counselor, etc., that is also nice so you have a face to put with the name. Our school - hopefully most schools - has a really strong anti- bullying program and it is really emphasized. We also talk a lot about it at home to make sure he knows to report any kind of bullying to a teacher or playground aide.

Kindergarten is a really fun time and hopefully your son will enjoy getting to know all of his new friends. Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 4:57 pm 
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all of this is spot on! i also had a bit of trepidation but offered to volunteer in the kindergarten classroom (i offered to do whatever the teacher wanted me to do. I was a reading specialist at the time, so most of the time I did reading stuff but sometimes it was just passing out crepe or being an extra pair of hands). It was nice to get an idea of what was going on in the classroom and helped build a good relationship with the teacher and she was thrilled to have the help, though I know not everyone has the flexibility to do that once a week.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:14 pm 
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Well I just got out of a parent-teacher conference with my kid's (full day) preschool and she said he is totally ready for kindergarten, socially and intellectually. This even though he has been in occupational therapy for fine motor skills and still can't draw like his peers, or button/zipper. She said when she was a kindegarten teacher they had to button/zip half the kids so that isn't really a worry. And he is also right on the cutoff- it is oct 31st in our current district and his bday is oct 10th.

Now, I know my kid sometimes poops at school. I asked him what he does when that happens this morning, and he was canny about it. He wouldn't say whether he wiped his butt or his teachers. He doesn't usually come home with poop stains so I'm assuming they must help him - and his teacher still thought he was ready for kindergarten. So, encouraging...maybe there isn't so much to worry about....

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:49 pm 
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Recent conversation at my house:

BAbynut: my butt is itchy.
Me: butts get itchy when you don't wipe at school.
Babynut: (giggles) it's gonna be itchy then.


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:23 pm 
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Hahahaha butternut, we had the exact same conversation!


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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:11 am 
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Even if the school doesn't do an orientation, you could see if you and poopieboy can go take a look at the school and his future classroom. My youngest brother is special needs, and every year before school started my mother would call the central office and ask if she and he could just come in and look around; she would say that they didn't need to go into the room, but they'd always unlock it for her anyway, saying they got a lot of (non-special-needs) kids who wanted to do the same thing.

Also, don't feel like a horrible parent if he doesn't like it at first. I have zero bad memories of elementary school, and I know I had lots of friends and lots of fun, but according to my mother I cried every single morning from kindergarten to second grade asking her not to make me go back.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:08 pm 
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So as the first day of kindergarten at a new school is approaching, my anxiety level is going THROUGH THE ROOF. It reminds me that I used to have a recurring nightmare around this time every year before school started when I was young.

You'd think it would be OK since my kid has been in daycare/preschool since he was 2, but somehow this milestone is still getting to me! I've been reading a few articles lately and they're making me cry just from that! I never thought I would be a weepy mom like this. I'm totally not a crier. But here it is anyway.

I guess I'm just worried that he is riding the bus to the big school with kids up through 6th grade. Will he find his class ok and will the teacher be nice?

I suppose I have to take the day off from work to bring him on his first day, right? Does everyone do that or did you let your kid just go on the bus with a picture?

I'd appreciate any and all stories of how to survive this day.

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 Post subject: Re: Tell me all about sending my kid to school
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:44 am 
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Peter is a bus rider too. I drove him on his first day and walked him to class, mostly because I had to take his supplies to his classroom the first day anyway. He got to meet his teacher and find his classroom for the first time with me there, which I think was helpful to him.

After that he rode the bus alone just fine. The older kids (his school goes up to 5th grade) are really sweet and help him while he's getting on and off the bus. One kid in particular made a point of learning his name his first day on the bus, plays with the little kids while they're waiting, and makes sure the other kids let the kindergarteners get on first. Hopefully you'll have a helpful older kid who will do the same.

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