Thursday, September 4, 2008

First Day of School!

Yesterday was a very. . long. . day. Sigh. It was Jeffy's first day of Kindergarten. I had been stewing about this all week, because our school, last year, decided to implement 'all-day-Kindergarten', and I was not, and still am not happy about this at all.

When I was in Kindergarten, not only did we go just half the day, we also had naptime, in addition to recess and playtime. . . How ever did they fit this in, I ask you, what with all the stringent academic demands we had to meet?! Ridiculous. What was really upsetting was how they had set up the curriculum, there at our neighborhood school. It became very clear, last week, when we went in to meet Jeffy's teacher, that full-day K was being pushed on the residents of our community. . blatantly, and inappropriately. You decide. Here's how it was set up. All of the hard-core 'core' stuff, reading, writing, worksheets, etc were scheduled for the morning hours, with no recess; and then all the fun stuff was in the afternoon! Like music and centers and recess, playtime, and even math! I didn't get it either. There could be only one explanation. The people over at the elementary school, the teacher, the principal, the district, SOMEBODY, was trying to force parents to make their 5 year old children, fresh out of 2-day-a week preschool, go to school all day long, every day, whether they liked it or not. I mean, what were our choices? Have our toddler, (and yes even stores recognize Kindergartners as toddlers, hence the '5T' sizes on clothing), be bored senseless by sitting, and doing worksheets for 3 hours, if we chose the morning K option, or transfer him to another school where this type of torture was not inflicted. Naturally, our school didn't offer afternoon Kindergarten. . .

I tried to get Jeffy into another school, and I'd even talked to a friend about their's and the fantastic program that was offered, but it turned out that everything close was full, (obviously for good reason), or I just didn't know enough about it. So here I am, faced with the dilemma: Home school, or . . . home school. Private school is really out of the question at this point. So after crying into a dishtowel on my couch for an hour or so, I got over it and decided to play tough cookie. I also said a prayer, which absolutely explains the rapid rectification of the problem. : ) Simply enough, I called the principal, and talked to her about the teacher and her proposed curriculum. I called the district, and left a message for the man in charge of these types of situations. Apparently they didn't like the word 'discrimination', because, in spite of my very savvy and experienced neighbor's skeptical analysis, (stating that the chances of them doing anything about this, or even considering a morning recess were 'slim to none'), the principal called me back, and had me talk to the teacher, with whom she had just had a conference, and who had, interestingly, just been convinced to change some things around, to adjust her morning schedule so as to offer a more reasonable educational experience for those children who had chosen to attend morning Kindergarten! I was rather surprised, and very grateful, when I considered from Whom these new ideas undoubtedly must have come. (Reverent pause.) The district guy, when he called me back later on, was excited that the people at the school had worked it out themselves, although I'm sure Bill Gebhardt would've been gratified to publicize my story. . . . Well, you never know. . . : )

It's funny, Jeffy's been sort of nervous for a week or so now, because of school starting. He's been snuggling in our bed with us almost every night, and has kind of gone back and forth on being excited about Kindergarten, or not excited about Kindergarten. . . But when I went to pick him up just before lunch yesterday, he whined and threw a small fit about having to go home. Sigh. I had to roll my eyes a little. After all that! But then, after staying to have lunch with his sister, we discovered a confused little boy, standing up against the brick retaining wall outside of the lunchroom, all alone and sobbing because he "wanted to go home". I asked him if he was in Kindergarten, and he said, more than once. "No, I'm in school." I walked the poor little guy back to the lunchroom so he wouldn't get lost, and the other K teacher was nothing but annoyed about his concerns. Then today when I went to pick Jefferson up, he was a bit tired. "I was wondering what was taking you so long. . ." he said as we loaded up his backpack. It had been less than 3 hours. I was proud to be the only Mommy, with the exception of maybe one or two from the other class next door, to pick up her kidlet before lunch! All day Kindergarten a good idea? I don't think so.

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