Dear Kindergartner, School Isn’t Supposed to Look Like This

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Dear (Almost) Kindergartner, 
 
We have had the very best summer. I don’t want it to end!
 
The spring was really tough since you didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to your beloved preschool, your teachers, or your very first friends. It all came to an abrupt halt on March 12th, 2020 when our state decided to close schools due to the encroaching global pandemic. And even though you cried for a solid week because you didn’t understand why your little life changed overnight, you still managed to demonstrate unbelievable resilience.
 
So this summer, we took a bit of a break from the chaos of distance learning and the sadness of a lack of closure to a special chapter. We have certainly been enjoying a nostalgic, old school summer. But in reality, I’ve been avoiding the spiral of anxiety surrounding the pending announcement of what school is going to look like in the fall.
 
As you know, I’m nostalgic because I’m your mom. I make a big deal out of small moments and a really big deal out of big ones. So we’ve been talking about kindergarten for a long time. We have built it up, and you can’t wait to go to school just like your big sister. 
 
Except now, we are in the middle of a pandemic and waiting for the announcement of a back to school plan. There is no brilliant idea, no solution. There is no solid plan A, let alone a plan B to make us feel any sense of relief. Every possible scenario for the fall only brings up more questions, and we (you) will have to continue to be flexible and adaptable. 
 
Of course we are going to figure it out, and of course amazing things can come from struggle and hardship. Kiddo, you are going to do unbelievable things! But right now, I’m grieving what was supposed to be. I am grieving because this is the year you – the baby of our house – head to kindergarten. And this isn’t how it’s supposed to be.
 
Kindergarten is supposed to be…
 
…picking out new shoes and a backpack.
…taking that sacred walk hand in hand to the classroom.
…achieving lightbulb moments and learning to read.
…making little friends and bringing home art projects. 
…waving to the big kids and older siblings in the hallway.
…having lunch in the cafeteria.
…learning new skills at recess.
…attending classroom parties and field trips.
…getting to know parent volunteers and educators in the classroom. 
…exploring the school library. 

…getting a picture with the teacher at back to school night. 
…beginning that first leg of your independent journey into the world.

But instead, I’m not exactly sure what your kindergarten experience is going to look like. 
 
If you go to school in the fall, will you have to wear a mask? Will you be scared because all of these strangers are also wearing masks? Will you be able to sit next to your friends? Will you have recess? Will you get to enjoy music class or PE? Will there be centers or circle time? Will you get to wave to your sister in the hallways? Will you not receive a single hug during the school year? 
 
This isn’t what school is supposed to look like. 
 
If you stay home for distance learning, I’m not sure that will be any better? Will you get to see your friends? Will you develop the social skills you need? How will I run a business? How will I teach you to read? How will you learn to love learning and stay engaged with your education? How much screen time is too much during a pandemic?
 
This isn’t what school is supposed to look like. 
 
The hardest part for me is that this is my very last first day of kindergarten. These precious moments are fleeting, and we won’t get them back.
 
But no matter what decisions are made in the coming weeks, you better believe we are going to make it special. We are going to figure it out. 
 
So even though your kindergarten year isn’t supposed to look like this, my hope is that we come out stronger and develop the critical skills of flexibility and resiliency. And in the end, I fully believe that you and this generation of young children are going to go on to do brilliant things and pave the way for our future.  
 
Love Always,
 
Mom

2 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Moms,
    I am sorry for the anxiety and pain many of you may be feeling. I am a kindergarten teacher who is going through some emotions at this time too. We will work it out .We really will! It may just take a different look for a while but there are amazing teachers out there who have been thinking about you since Spring. They know you are coming in some way, shape or form.And they will rock your world and amaze you with how creative they can be. We will all get through this and we will learn from it together. We will learn more about flexibility, patience and compromise. Your teachers will help those children rise and believe it or not, there will still be laughter, joy and great education! Prayers for all of you tonight… this teacher is going to go dig out her best books, newest great games and brightest calming smile! All ready to love em up… and so are all my friends from school!🥰🥰❤️❤️

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