by Tori Smith
Kindergarten is a complicated year for children and their families. It is a year when a group of individual spirits come together for an adventure unlike anything else they have ever experienced. There is a new physical terrain to explore and adapt to, new social complications and expectations, new emotional responses, and new behavioral demands.
In addition to these new trials to balance, each child is also asked to put aside some individuality to become part of a cohesive group tasked with building a learning community. It is a hard task. It is hard for the individual children, for their families making adjustments and turning over their babies to new caretakers, for the teachers and aids charged with guiding and coaxing the brood for much of the day, and for the larger established school community welcoming the new clutch of chicks into its fold.
Kindergarten is a year when all of this is sorted and squished about, massaged and nurtured. Each part – social, emotional, behavioral, and intellectual – pushes forward in fits and starts. In addition, a concentrated dose of academics is worked into the mix.
Throughout the year, the trajectory of growth is uneven and unique for each child, but typically always forward and higher. By the end of Kindergarten, most children, and the children as a group, reach a place where they are ready to take on the challenges and adventures of an academic school life, one that still involves emotional, social, and behavioral growth, but with a new and greater expectation of intellectual exercise and personal independence.
The trajectory of growth is also uneven and unique for each family. This is true for families who are experiencing Kindergarten for the first time, as well as for those who are experiencing it again with a second or third child. As those parents well know by now, each sibling is unique. While some parts of Kindergarten may feel familiar, it is important to honor each child’s experience as his or her own. We encourage you to share family experiences with other families and build relationships, to build a flotilla with your many separate boats.
Your journey begins. It will be an exciting one for sure. We are here to help you navigate when you need extra help. Just ask.