We have been anticipating the start of kindergarten for what feels like forever. Academically, Brennan has been ready for a long time. Socially, it's right where he should be.
B has been excited about starting at the big school for almost a year, I think. He is excited that in kindergarten he gets to play on the computer more, he can drink chocolate milk during the day (usually a special dinnertime treat), and he will go on fun field trips. He has shown no reservations about having a new school.
Last week Brennan had his kindergarten screening. Our school district does what I call a "slow start." The kindergarteners get screened one at a time over the course of a few days while the "big kids" (first grade and up) begin regular school. Brennan's scheduled screening time was last Thursday at 9:30 AM. I have been preparing him for it for probably six months. I have told him that he will get asked lots of questions, and the purpose is to find out what he knows so they can find just the right teacher for him. I told him that if he knows an answer to something he should answer confidently, and if he doesn't, it's okay because they will know what he teacher needs to teach him. I thought that all of this preparation would be enough.
What I didn't properly prepare Brennan for was the fact that he would have to go answer the questions by himself and that I couldn't go with him. When the teacher came to get him (forty-five minutes late, so he was very engrossed in play), he freaked out. He clung to me, crying, and the lady had to pry him off of me. I basically had to leave the room and walk down the hall so he was left with no choice but to follow the teacher. It was heart wrenching.
From what I was told, Brennan calmed down and successfully completed his screening, so that is good. However, it left me wondering how he would do on the first day of school. Would he pull a similar stunt, or would he take to kindergarten like a fish to water, the way I had expected him to all along?
As part of the "slow start" in our district, the kids go in batches for a half day (one batch goes half day on Tuesday, and the other goes for a half day on Wednesday), and then they stay with those same batches of kids to each do a full day on either Thursday or Friday. Brennan's half day was Wednesday, and his full day is tomorrow.
We walked up to the school yesterday morning, and I wondered which one of us would cry first: Brennan or me. As it happened, neither one of us did! He was excited and happy and got to work right away making his fruit loop necklace. His teacher welcomed him by name before I could even introduce them, and she made him feel like the only child in the room. When Cora wanted a fruit loop to eat and Brennan told me I needed to ask for permission before taking one, his teacher said, "Brennan, I love you already!" :-)
As I said, tomorrow is the first full day with a few of his classmates, but Monday is the official first day of school for all kindergarteners in our county. There will be twenty-one children and their parents all gathered in Brennan's classroom taking pictures and saying goodbye. It won't be as overwhelming to the kids because they will be in familiar territory with some familiar classmates, but I have to wonder how I will do. The first day of kindergarten is a much bigger deal than I ever could have imagined.
I am officially now the parent of a school-aged child!