Jeff took Biscuit to his piano lesson this evening, and I went to Biscuit's soon-to-be elementary school for a kindergarten information session.
I was hoping to work it out for Jeff to be with me at the meeting, but I didn't want Biscuit to miss a piano lesson after being on vacation last week. And the main reason I wanted Jeff there was because I knew I'd be weepy.
I am not ready for my baby to go to school. I know it won't be any different from him spending all day at day care. I don't get to see him during the day anyway, but there's something so grown-up about him starting school.
At least I wasn't the only one. I talked to a couple of other moms who were also having a hard time keeping their composure.
One thing I can say for sure is that kindergarten is WAY different than when I went.
When I was 5, my Mama called the school system and told them our address, and they told her which school we'd go to. No choices unless you wanted to go to one of the two private schools (which of course, my parents and the parents of my friends couldn't afford). We had half-day classes. You either went to morning or afternoon kindergarten.
Then when we moved into first grade, we had all-day classes, but still had naptime.
Biscuit's kindergarten is all day without a nap. And instead of learning letters and numbers and colors and shapes like we did, they're expected to know that stuff before they even get to kindergarten.
The teachers assured us tonight that kindergarten is no longer play time. It's academic. And those were her actual words, "Our classes are academic."
Here are the things the kids should know before they show up for class the first day (and this isn't everything, just a few off the list):
- Write name with uppercase first letter and lowercase other letters
- Be able to hear a story read aloud then re-tell the story in their own words
- Write all upper- and lowercase letters
- Write numbers
- Last name recognition
- Write letters from top down, left to right
- Use a mouse to move a cursor around on a computer
Here are some of the things they'll be learning:
- Social studies
- 3-D shapes (cubes, cones, etc.)
- Days of week
- Months of year
The "extra" classes they'll have include:
- About five field trips
A few other things:
- Biscuit will have homework every day.
- He can bring his lunch, which means he'll actually eat (unlike some days at day care).
- But since they eat at 10:35 a.m., they can also bring an afternoon snack.
- When I drop him off, Biscuit will walk to his class by himself. And the kindergarten hall is on the other end of the building from where I'll drop him off.
- They'll have outside recess every day unless it rains, then they'll having active time inside a multi-purpose room.
A few odd things:
- They want the kids to know how to tie their shoes. Biscuit hasn't had shoes with laces since he was 2. Every pair of shoes at the shoe store we like had Velcro straps. We'll teach him anyway, just in case.
- All boys must know how to use a urinal. They also have to know that urinals are for one type of business, and stalls are for another type of business.
We also got a list of supplies that Biscuit will need, including headphones and dry erase markers, two things that we never would've used when I was in kindergarten.
The other thing of note about the meeting is that as I looked around the room, I was clearly 10 to 15 years older than everyone else there. I figured it would be that way, but it was kind of odd to look around and see it proved.
With everything Biscuit will be doing, and being around all of these young parents, I'm going to have to start taking my vitamins!