My son is all set to start kindergarten in two weeks and I'm a nervous wreck. I'm not even exactly sure why. We survived the preschool years unscathed and I'm not crazy enough to believe that his performance in kindergarten will shape his entire academic path. But I'm worried and sort of frantically excited all the same time.
While kindergarten isn't the end all to be all, it is a milestone and it sets the tone for what school is like. And a lot has changed since we went to kindergarten. I think that the hardest part for us first- timers is that there are so many unknowns. So while I'm trying to portray a confident and positive attitude about the whole thing to my soon-to-be kindergartener, inside I can't help but worry about these 10 things:
Did I choose the right school? Whether you chose the public school down the street like I did or are entering a private academy you signed up for years ago, choosing a school is a big decision and it's impossible to know if it's the right fit until you try it. I sure hope our local school fits the bill.
Will they get the right teacher? Whether you're totally confident in your school choice or not, there is still the question of the teacher. I'm nervous about who the teacher will be and if they will be a good fit for my kid.
Will they make friends? My heart breaks thinking of my kid playing alone on the playground or worse, being bullied. A much bigger school with many more kids means the chance for lots of new friends, but also the possibility for conflict and loneliness.
Will I make friends? I sure hope the other parents are nice. This is a great chance to meet new friends, but what if it ends up being quite the opposite. Hopefully I'll find someone to chat with at pick-up time.
I am fully aware that this list makes me sound a bit neurotic but in chatting with my friends, these seem to be pretty common concerns.
What if it's too hard? Nobody wants their child to struggle and I think Common Core is adding to this fear for many of us. Kindergarten is no longer a matter of learning how to raise your hand, sing ABC's and identify colors. Kindergarteners are expected to learn an awful lot and I don't think I'm the only mom who is worried it might be overwhelming at times.
What if it's too easy? We've all heard of the kid who wasn't being challenged so they disrupted the class instead. I must admit that this often feels like an excuse for poor behavior, but I do wonder if my kid might be bored. I want him to learn and thrive and be interested, but there might be times when he must wait for the rest of the class to catch up.
Is it actually possible to arrive somewhere at 8am on the dot? I still can't get my mind around such an early start time. We struggled to arrive at preschool at 9am and it was less than a block away. I hope all this nervous energy helps me get us out of the house on time.
What if my child misbehaves? As a teacher's pet raising a rough and tumble kid, I am totally dreading a visit to the principal's office.
Will they eat? This isn't preschool, no one is going to hover over your kid and make sure they eat their lunch. My son is generally a great eater but if going out to the playground is reward for finishing up, I can imagine quite a few chucked sandwiches.
Will they get enough play time? I think my biggest concern is how academic kindergarten has become. I worry about my kid spending too much of the day indoors, stuck in a chair.
I am fully aware that this list makes me sound a bit neurotic but in chatting with my friends, these seem to be pretty common concerns. So if you're in the same boat, please know that you're not alone. And if you've survived the first kid-in-kinder jitters, please tell me I've got nothing to worry about.