CULLMAN – The start of the 2018-2019 school year is upon us. For most parents, the process is routine, but for the parents of Kindergartners, it is anything but that. Don’t worry though, you’ve got this.
The Tribune stopped by the Cullman City Primary School for some advice parents can use to help make things easier. We spoke with two kindergarten teachers, Savanna Ponder and Karen Graham.
Graham’s message to anxious parents is “Trust the process.”
Parents should read through all the information and planned procedures given at open house. Many things a parent might be unsure of are likely explained in the handbooks. Make sure all email and contact information is accurate so you know of all planned events and volunteer needs the school or individual teacher may have. This is the best way to easily communicate with your child’s teacher.
Plan on joining the PTO.
Ponder’s advice, “Join the PTO. We have a great PTO who plans and helps with so many of our fun events.”
The PTO is a great way for parents to be actively involved while making friends with other parents who will be on this journey with them for the next several years.
Prepare by reading books.
Schools recommend reading books to your child on the subject of going to school. This can reduce the fear and anxiety your child may have about being in a new environment. Some suggestion are:
- “I Am Too Absolutely Small for School” by Lauren Child
- “First Grade Jitters” by Robert Quackenbush
- “First Day Jitters” by Julie Danneberg
- “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn
- “Chu’s First Day of School” by Neil Gaiman
It is also recommended to not over-hype this milestone. While it is an amazing accomplishment, over emphasizing can set unrealistic expectations and cause increased nervousness in your child.
On the first couple of days, parents can walk their kids to the classroom but try to keep it short and sweet. Long agonizing goodbyes make it harder for both you and your child. Keep your own emotions in check. Its ok to cry AFTER you are out of your child’s sight. Remember, school is a happy place with new friends, not a sad crying place. For parents of CCPS kindergarteners, the school will be offering a Boo-Hoo Breakfast in the school’s library at 8 a.m. on Aug. 7 and 8. You can join other parents for some tears, coffee and a lovely continental breakfast.
The Boo-Hoo Breakfast is a great opportunity to make friends and maybe even plan a few grown-up activities.
Avoid unplanned visits.
Graham explained, “Kindergarten is much more structured now. Each minute is planned for academic tasks, activities and special instruction time for individual students. Unexpected visits can take away from the students. “
There are many opportunities to help at the school and to be involved without causing unintended consequences.
Ponder added, “The first few weeks, the kids are learning new schedules, learning to take direction and developing independence.”
These things are best accomplished when the kids are focused and void of distraction.
After the first day or two, use the drop-off service. There are many benefits to the drop-off and pick-up services. The safety of your child and all the other children depends on parent’s willingness to adhere to the policies put in place by the school administrators.
Parents might not always understand the procedures but try very hard to trust the teachers. Every procedure has been planned with the safety of the students in mind and with the goal of fostering independence.
Ponder and Graham had a unified message: “We love all our students just as we love our own family. We will watch after them, keep them safe, and do everything we can to successfully guide them while in our care. Trust the process.”
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