Posted by: Kate | October 7, 2008

First Day of School

Back in August, we chatted with Jacob’s preschool teachers. We wondered, collectively, if maybe he was ready for kindergarten, because in the spring he was well ahead of the rest of the 3- and 4-year-old preschool class in terms of letter-writing, reading, math, etc. But we decided to start him where he was familiar in the fall and just see how things went.

He’s a thoughtful kid and a smart one, but sometimes that falls behind a shyness and reserve that can freeze him or make him shut down, a bit. New things are hard for him, and he needs time to think it all through and wrap his brain around it before he embraces a change of any sort.  Once he’s had a chance to think it through, he embraces things happily and openly – you just can’t make him ready for something one second sooner than he’s ready.

Now that he’s a month into the school year, it has become obvious that he’s ready for kindergarten. It’s not just about the “academics,” though the worksheets they send home as homework for the kids are far below his abilities (Willem has been printing out kindergarten-level worksheets from the Internet because Jacob begged for “real homework like Mimi” – and he does it all accurately and patiently). It’s more about his social and emotional readiness; he’s calmer than the preschool kids, more controlled in his speech and actions. He just carries himself as though he’s much older, though he is not the oldest kid in the class.

So, starting today, he’ll be attending kindergarten. Not just sitting in with the bigger kids once in a while, but moving his cubby and officially taking a kindergarten slot and leaving a preschool slot open. He’ll continue to attend only three days a week, because I’m not ready to give up the time I have with him on my days off.  We’re keeping him at the current facility instead of transferring to public school, because we’re planning to move next summer and I don’t want to uproot him twice in a year. But this place has a fully accredited kindergarten, and if we wanted to, we could put him directly into first grade the following year. (We won’t – assuming we do move next summer, I’ll enter him into public school kindergarten on the theory that the work will be very easy for him but he’s a cautious soul and the move itself will be hard, so it should make the transition a little easier if he already knows the schoolwork bit.)

Sigh.  I’m so proud, because he really is a sweet, centered, calm little boy, and a joy to be around. He’s so smart, but not in a look-at-me sort of way.  I’m so pleased that his teachers see this side of him, too.

But he’s only four years and two months old. I know they grow fast, but this is ridiculous.


Meanwhile, Emily has somehow flipped a switch in her own head, and in the past two weeks has been a delight, herself. She’s still bossy and impulsive, but making a visible effort to consider the feelings of others before she speaks, and much more conscientious with things like homework and chores. I’m not sure what I did to deserve a reprieve from the drama and contradictions and similar antics, but I’m grateful. My buttons were getting a smidge tired of being so constantly pressed.


This parenting thing is quite the roller coaster. I’m enjoying a phase of gentle tranquility and trying not to wonder when it will suddenly roll over that little bump and down the big, scary hill to the next rocky period.

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Responses

  1. YAY, Jacob and Emily! I am so proud of those two!

  2. They sound lovely. At our house, because there are so many, someone is always in a change phase. I have to look for moments, not weeks.

  3. Awesome! You are lucky that you have a school that will allow you to do that.

  4. Yay for the calm sort of milestones!

  5. Wow, good for him! Thomas loves kindergarten so far (except for the fire drills). But yesterday he wrote his name backwards, which is making me a little nervous…we take it as it comes, I suppose.

  6. That is great that the school is so responsive. Congrats on the downhill of the roller coaster with both at the same time!

  7. That’s great that you can put him into Kinder for just three days a week? Here it’s a full time class in primary school before moving on to year 1. He sounds like he’s adjusting just fine. Here its the March/April birthdays that cause problems as our school year commences late January. I know many parents who have held their kids back just in case they weren’t ready only to find that they’ve had a handful at home for the ensuing year. He sounds like he’ll cope. As for the rollercoaster . . .it’s in a never-ending loop!


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