We handed in Imogen’s Kindergarten registration packet today for August 19th (!) start at Sayeik: Gastineau Community School in Douglas. She misses the Sept. 1 cutoff by less than two weeks so we applied for early admittance. When a kid should start school is of course a divisive topic as there are clear cons and clear pros to both early- and late-starts; we took the decision seriously.
Preschool is a developmentally special time for kids and I didn’t feel there was any rush, especially now that Imogen is happy in her new class: she moved to the other classroom at her school two weeks ago and will have only been there a month when she says goodbye to her teacher, who has already messaged us she’ll be “sad.” (I believe her!)
As always, this rambly post of mine helps me to make sense of what has happened/is happening and someone else is in the same boat as me. So here is what led us to scan that registration packet in, and it’s okay if you disagree/feel differently/have questions/want to yell at me, because this is what we are doing and why we are doing it.
The counselor who interviewed her told us Imogen is about where Kindergarteners are halfway through the school year in terms off writing, letters, listening comprehension, story telling, imaginative play, etc. So we are not worried about her struggling in that regard… furthermore, there is the risk that she would be bored/not challenged/have to find other, not-as-productive outlets for her brain.
We have heard anecdotally that there are no advantages to being the youngest/least experienced kid in a class; it is also proven that people learn by participating in activities with “more competent others” who provide support for part of the task that they cannot yet do (Thank you Reading Apprenticeship Framework!), which also applies to social-emotional stuff and big kids having been around school, etc.
Imogen has had fun at preschool and has met some good friends there and had some wonderful teachers, but we didn’t believe another year there would be as challenging or as fun or as stimulating for her as going to “big school” would be. Not the least important, she really wants to go, she wants to ride the yellow bus, and, I might be imagining it, but she seems up to the challenge already.
She asks me when Robbie, her baby in the front carry, will grow up. “Oh, you’ll just know,” I start out all sing-song-y, and pretty soon my 4.5-year-old is consoling me, telling me exactly what her house looks like so I can come there when she gets one. (It’s on Blueberry Hills!)
So now my first baby is on the brink of biggirldom and I am a blubbering mess living inside a cliche. For some reason I was reading reviews of Pottery Barn kids, over-the-top bedding, and this mom was so happy she was able to get hers in time to take it to the dorm, and had a picture of her daughter’s bed and I was just like that is a picture of the last time she made her daughter’s bed!
It may be a little overstated; you obviously don’t say goodbye to your kid when they get on the bus for kindergarten. But I do believe they get off the bus a little different than when they got on, and that that’s a good thing. I’ve also been reminded with the help of Jacob who had a little different school experience than I did, that schools are institutions, and the sooner she starts, the sooner she’ll be free.
I’m sure I could go on and on about this topic but I’ll leave it here for now: we had a wonderful weekend with new friends and old, and after bathing a particularly grubby kid that kid put shorts on to go play soccer with our 8-year-old neighbor, who is going into third grade at the same school, and was waiting outside the door.
I’m not sure I knew exactly how it was going to go until, watching from the window after straightening up her room, hearing them laugh and giggle and play: they’ll be on the same bus.
UPDATE: The neighbor (now nine) goes to a different school! But so far Imogen says her own is “great.”