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on Fri, 08/24/2012 - 09:09

Kindergarten is less than one week away! Our family is feeling very excited, but I’m sure that as the first day of school gets closer, our 5-year-old son, Sam, will be a little nervous. We’ve been talking about kindergarten, but we’re trying not to talk about it too much—we don’t want to make Sam anxious. My husband and I are trying to keep things positive by:

Reading books about kindergarten

We’re currently reading (and re-reading):

  • Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten, by Joseph Slate
  • Welcome to Kindergarten, by Anne Rockwell
  • On the Way to Kindergarten, by Virginia Kroll
  • Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come! by Nancy Carlson

The books have prompted questions from Sam about kindergarten and school in general. What will my classroom look like? Who will be in my class? Will there be a craft table? Do I need to know how to tie my shoes before kindergarten? Why do some children take a bus to school? Can I take a bus to school?

Sharing our experiences from kindergarten

It’s been many years since my husband and I were in kindergarten, but Sam likes to hear stories from our time as kindergartners.

Purchasing school supplies

While we won’t have the official list of supplies until he starts school, we know a few things Sam needs. He’s already picked out his Angry Birds backpack and Darth Vader lunchbox. It took him 20 minutes to choose his lunchbox because he wanted the perfect one for kindergarten. Who can blame him?

Transitioning from a summer to a school-year routine

Sam’s evening routine hasn’t varied too much over the summer, but with later wake up times we became a little more relaxed about his bedtime. We’ve started easing back to his regular bedtime so it won’t come as a surprise when school starts.

Meeting his teacher, visiting his classroom, and attending the Popsicle social afterwards

The kindergarten open house is scheduled a few days before the first day of school. Sam is eager to meet his teacher and see his classroom, and he’s very interested to find out if any of his friends will be in his class. There are a few children from his preschool who’ll be attending the same elementary school, so we all hope to see some familiar faces.

An unexpected treat came yesterday when Sam received a letter from his new teacher. It brought a big smile to his face, and I think holding the letter and knowing that she is welcoming him to her class might have made kindergarten more real to him.

Talking about what he can expect on his first day

Sam’s school has posted a sample “kindergarten day” schedule online. We’ve chatted about how some parts of the day will be like preschool and other parts will be new experiences for him. He knows that we’ll take him to his classroom and then pick him up from there in the afternoon.

Discussing a new lunchtime practice

Sam’s preschool was peanut free, but his new elementary school isn’t. In many ways we think this is going to be the hardest part of the day for him because he has multiple food allergies (including peanuts), Sam will eat lunch at the peanut-free table, which means he may not have a choice of who he sits with at lunchtime.

Separately, we’ll set up a meeting with the school nurse and his teacher to talk about his allergies, reactions, and medications.

Reassuring him that I will pick him up when school is over

We’ve been reminding him that even though he’s in a new school, his after-school routine won’t change much, and I’ll still be there to pick him up.

How we’re feeling

My emotional side is trying to imagine how it will feel when we walk Sam to school on his first day. By then he’ll have met his teacher and (I hope) recognize a few fellow kindergartners. I’m sure he may be a bit hesitant to have us leave the classroom and start his day (and I may be taking small, slow steps as I walk away). I also know that Sam is often an observer before a participant, so I need to reassure myself that if he hangs back, that’s just his way of easing into new situations.

I know he’ll be in great hands at the school. We’re excited about the possibilities and new learning opportunities that are ahead for him. Most of all, I think we’re looking forward to all the new experiences that we can share with him.

Do you have a child entering kindergarten this year? Or preschool? What are you doing to get him/her ready…and yourself?


I like this story. Thanks

What a great post! You are creating such wonderful memories for your family, and so is his teacher! What a wonderful way to start the school year. You brought back my own fond memories of the first day of Kindergarten for our son. I look forward to more posts!

Really nice post, Mary. Our younger son is in kindergarten this year, too, so we can relate!

We'll be in this position next year so thanks for the great tips on good books!

As a Kindergarten teacher, each year I am so thankful for the parents who have taken steps like the ones you have to help their child.  It is important to remember, too, that your child will pick up on your feelings about leaving him or her at school.  The moms who linger in the room and tear up saying how much they are going to miss their little one make the first days way more challenging for child.  Try to show confidence in your child's ability to succeed and the school's ability to care for him.  I like to use phrases like "i am happy to take you to school because there are so many grown-ups there to make sure you are safe.". And one more thing...when your child gets in the caron off the bus at the end of the day, please hang up the phone and act as if there is nothing more important than hearing about his or her day.

Like Sam's lunchbox choice, the other thing in our house is picking out the right pair of new shoes for his first day of school! What fun we had. He had to be cool with his new Batman shoes. Thanks for the great post.

I also know that Sam is often an observer before a participant, so I need to reassure myself that if he hangs back, that’s just his way of easing into new situations.

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