Today was the fifth day of school with my new kindergarteners. It has been wonderful. They are absolutely non-stop. The kids are great! I say that every year – well, because they are. And did I mention they are absolutely non-stop?
The behind-the-scenes prep work started weeks ago, but I feel like the real work – and of course the most fun – started last Tuesday when I welcomed them each into my room. It’s the day that I feel that the load on my shoulder is a little lighter. That’s right – lighter. I probably worry more before the first day of school. Once they enter through the door, I know they’ll be my guide(s) to a successful year. I can’t do it on my own, and I won’t ever assume to. That has never been my conviction. My kindergarteners may not have the language to communicate exactly what they want out of the year, but their actions will let me know. I just sit and watch. I look for their approval and excitement for learning in the subtle signs. The smiles. The laughter. The eager lean-forward. The wide-eyes. The curious pause. It’s simple. Once I see the signal, I know what direction to lead them in.
At the moment, I’m staring down the first six weeks of school. It’s the time of the year that is important to their success. It’s the window of time you have to establish routines, create familiarity, foster community – and build relationships. It’s a whirlwind. There is nothing like it. I try to ignore the fact that the second-graders already know how to walk down the hall…in a straight line. I block out conversation of teachers and their wonderful first graders writing a story…on the first day. And the third graders that can make it through the cafeteria…without dropping their trays. The beginning of each school year quite literally, for me, is to begin again. From scratch.Yet deep in my heart I know those skills and many, many more I see…are learned in kindergarten. That is why I love my job.
It’s hard to believe that this is the third kindergarten class that I’ll have had the chance to “Wonderopolis” with. It all started with Wonder of the Day #11- What Causes a Shooting Star. I have several ideas of what I’d like to do with my kids. But as usual, I’ll just let Wonderopolis do what it does best for my kindergarteners – let them wonder. I can’t wait to share this year’s Wonderopolis journey with you. To all you fantastic teachers new and familiar to Wonderopolis – have an incredible year.
Instead of the traditional “Welcome to Kindergarten” sign that I typically put up at the beginning of the year – I posted this instead. I found this on pinterest here, so I can’t take credit for it. It does, however, say exactly what I want my kids to know. Each and every day.