Her First Day of School – What it Looked Like and What’s New
My daughter is growing up and while that’s a terrifying concept in itself, she’s just had her first day (2 hrs) at kindergarten. Since we’re still very much in a pandemic, and the number of cases is rising again here in British Columbia, things have to be very different.
Before today, we practiced:
- Going to the toilet and wiping by herself
- Washing hands
- Opening and closing her water bottle, lunchbox, any packaging, and her backpack
- Putting on her face mask
- Writing her name
Throughout the last few weeks, we have had regular emails from the school district, the Principal, and our daughter’s teacher. We also had a virtual town hall over MS Teams which covered the first day and what we’d need to know.
We started off the day very excited. She was keen to get dressed (a miracle!) and even agreed to the mandatory photographs with the ‘My First Day of School’ sign that seemed to appear in the house and won’t be used again until next year. Probably picked up at Michael’s while I wasn’t looking!
Ahead of time, we’d been told where her class would meet, the name of the teacher, and the plan for the upcoming days. Fortunately, the first ‘day’ was just a 2 hr meet and greet between the kids and the teacher where they could have a play, run around, and get familiar before starting things next week.
The teacher greeted us and mainly spoke to our daughter, and she was quick to want to show off, “Look at how fast I can run!” Thankfully, he humoured her request (the first of many, I’m sure).
I left first, after ensuring she was happy and already chasing around with some of her new classmates. My wife stayed for another 20 minutes or so, but had to deal with our little one being upset that her Mom was leaving.
However, after a few minutes and some helpful encouragement from her new teacher, my wife was free to leave and our daughter continued her play time.
Two hours later we went to pick her up and saw them all sitting outside having story time. She had such a huge smile on her face and she was sitting right up front.
They have smaller class sizes, also called ‘cohorts’ and they’ll be staying in their groups throughout the school year to avoid any cross contamination with other groups. Lunch, play time, and lessons will all take part in the same group.
When it was time to leave, every child in her class of 20 was given a book about trees, the same one as in their group story time, for us to read at home. I’m sure that must be some kind of totem to connect her home and school.
On the way home, she said she loved her teacher and met some new friends, though she can’t remember their names yet. They practiced washing their hands with soap and water, as well as using hand sanitizer, something she’s very used to by now and even learned a new song to sing while doing it.
As the day came to a close, we just got another email wrapping up the first two days of the school reopening with encouraging words and a rundown of a few notable items like school fees, upcoming events like Orange Shirt Day and the Terry Fox Run, as well as a Covid-19 checklist to ensure all the kids are monitored daily for any symptoms.
This was a huge step for her, but also a leap of faith for us as parents. With such a fluid landscape and ever-changing news, we have to place a huge amount of trust into the school system and hope that they have the power and intuition to do what’s right for the kids.
As parents, we’d discussed distance learning but she needs other kids to play with. In my opinion, for her, school will be an opportunity to learn through play and to explore relationships with other people. At home she needs one of us to play with her all the time and to be honest, it just didn’t feel sustainable. It’s been a long summer!
How did your kids’ first day go? Or are you keeping them home to see how things go until the new year?