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Why Does Kindergarten Come With So Much of This?

Photograph by Getty Images

I'm drowning in paper.

When did going to school mean so much reading for Mom and Dad? I swear, every day my son's Kindergarten folder is filled with more announcements, book campaigns, class sign-ups and notices than I ever thought possible. Is it someone's job to stand at the copier, full time, getting this many sheets printed up (in a variety of colors mind you) for the 750 families at our school? I mean, the paper tsunami didn't even start with a trickle. From the very beginning, it was a deluge.

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It all started the first week. Actually, no wait, let's back up: It started the Friday before the first week of school at Parent Orientation. (Yes, parents need to be orientated, too). I was handed a folder with my son's name on it. Inside, were forms I was required to fill out for the teacher—a sheet to get to know my son, another about what languages he spoke at home, the next asked me about allergies. His teacher wasn't finished yet though. There were several sheets explaining homework, the class blog where the teacher updates what they are doing, ways to contact the teacher and how to get text alerts when she has announcements for parents.

Excessive? Possibly. But most of this information I do actually need throughout the year—or at least I assume I will.

As the school year rolled over into October, there was some relief. But only some.

The next week my son started school. That first week of school saw more papers coming home in a different folder— a folder I would quickly become friends with since there was something for me to look at every day. I expected the immense volume of papers in the folder to taper to once or twice a week, eventually. (Six weeks into school and I'm still waiting.)

After-school sport signs ups appeared in the first two weeks of school. Then came the language class sign-up forms. There was Lego club, science club and running club. Just when I thought it was over, the PTA announcements and weekly newsletter showed up.

One day the school might have a Cliff Notes version of Kindergarten for parents that tells us everything we need to know for the year.

After the first week of school the one-page homework assignment for the week started appearing, along with worksheets and drawings he had completed in class. I also saw Reading club fliers that urged parents to buy more books, so the classroom could get earn books for their library (way to lay on the guilt people!).

As the school year rolled over into October, there was some relief. But only some. Fieldtrip forms showed up, and the homework kept coming, but the excessive onslaught of papers subsided.

It's true, the Halloween parade announcement, another school newsletter and a volunteer form appeared in the folder yesterday, but at least I'm mentally prepared to spend at least one night a week reading through all of the papers that come home. Before that I was scrambling to keep up every night, which was just insane.

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One day the school might have a Cliff Notes version of Kindergarten for parents that tells us everything we need to know for the year. Maybe a comprehensive website as well. Until then, I guess my recycling bin will stay full with the number of papers coming home.

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Explore More: education, Learning & Development, Am I Ruining My Kid?
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