What happens in kindergarten stays in…. well, no, what happens in kindergarten extends well beyond the school year.
Kindergarten is such a magical time. Our toddlers are becoming big kids. Their independence is blooming. Their minds are opening. They are curious and eager. They are coming into themselves.
There are so many changes that occur during the kindergarten year - so many things to celebrate. Beyond the academic changes - their ability to count by tens, to understand the calendar, to report on the weather. Beyond their delight in reading words from a book or solving math equations. In addition to the myriad of academic accomplishments, there are many developmental milestones occurring during kindergarten.
Many of our children start off the school year clinging to mom’s leg, unwilling to enter the classroom. Our hearts break for our children in those moments but - later - our hearts are crushed when those same children run off without us to be with their friends on the playground or forget to say good-bye to us as they enter the school building.
I watched my daughter fumble her way on to the swings during the first days of kindergarten. It was hard for her to acquire the rhythm necessary for swinging. She struggled to get the back and forth motion of her legs to work with the pulling and pushing of her arms. And, then one day, I came upon the playground during the school day when her class was at recess. There she was pumping and soaring with the rest of the kindergarten crew.
I think that particular accomplishment signifies the often unnoticed accomplishments that our young students acquire. Like tying shoes, the ability to tell time, or managing peer relationships in a more sophisticated manner. We clap our hands in celebration when they share their pride-filled achievement. Other things, like swinging, sneak up on us suddenly and it isn’t until we’ve had a moment to look back that we realize how far they’ve come.
Throughout the year, you may notice your child’s caretaking needs are dwindling. Your kindergarten star doesn’t need help getting dressed in the morning. He can do it himself - really, truly. One day, you will see your daughter pouring milk into her cereal bowl. And, some of you may experience the day when your child asks to walk to school alone.
The child who used to mimic her older siblings at the study table now has homework of her own. The pride she displays and the big-kid attitude of responsibility when she sits down to her studies will make mom’s pride swell.
The adorable expressions that your child created when he was little are fading. He no longer says “teh-vee” when he is referring to the TV. And “speh-gee-doe” bites are now referred to as mosquito bites. The “hube” has transformed into the hip. How we miss the cute language “mistakes” our children brought into our lives.
Hopping and skipping enter a whole new realm during kindergarten. Physical abilities are changing by leaps and bounds - literally. By the end of the year, bouncing along on one foot is no problem for your active child. And, skipping is really skipping - not galloping.
The conversations you have with your child will evolve as well. You will be surprised by the questions he asks and amazed at her telling of what she learned at school. They are so excited and eager to see what the world has to offer, and they are so excited to share all of it with you. Encourage her. Listen to him. Stay engaged - always.
Kindergarten is such a special time in a child’s life. It is a stepping stone from what was to what will be. Celebrate her growth. It’s not going to stop.