I know I promised to stop my incessant hand-wringing and navel gazing about the fact that Hannah’s starting kindergarten in September. Apparently, I lied. My apologies. Hopefully, this is the last post, but I’m not making any guarantees. I don’t want to become, “The mom who cried no more kindergarten talk.” For now, enjoy more hand-wringing and navel gazing about my first child’s foray into public education.
I didn’t go to kindergarten.
OK, that’s not entirely true. I attended a Waldorf preschool and kindergarten. However, as far as the local public school district was concerned, it was the same thing as not attending kindergarten. And as far as I can say, looking back, they weren’t wrong. I didn’t do the same things in the same setting as my peers who attended public school. While you could argue that the things I did were wonderful and maybe even more valuable, there were no worksheets or performance evaluations or any of the traditional trappings of school.
Missing kindergarten has not negatively impacted my life in any way. I am here to tell you that while there are no doubt many great things about kindergarten, it is not a prerequisite to future success. Which is good to know, because it takes the pressure off. It means that my daughter, who is about to begin attending kindergarten, will not be forever defined by what happens at school. Or doesn’t happen at school. Hooray for having perspective!
Unfortunately, my perspective is not the perspective my own 5-year-old Hannah is looking for. She wants answers, and I don’t have them. She wants to know what she will do all day in kindergarten. She wants to know what, exactly, she will learn. She wants to know how she will learn it. She wants to know what kindergarten looks like, and I can’t blame her.
I didn’t go to kindergarten. I don’t have the answers. And really, even if I had attended kindergarten, it would have been almost 30 years ago. Kindergarten has very likely changed a fair bit in that time. Either way, I am no help here.
But there is one thing I do know about public schools, and about kids. Public schools have playgrounds. Kids like playgrounds. And maybe, if Hannah had a whole new playground to look forward to it would stop the steady stream of questions. Can you say field trip inspiration?
I am happy to say that my plan worked. Hannah loved the playground. It gave her something concrete to look forward to, and it gave me at least one solid answer. When she goes to kindergarten, she will get to play on that playground. Score one for the no-kindergarten mom!
Did you go to kindergarten? Do you actually remember anything about it? Share your memories, and if you have school-aged kids, let me know how kindergarten has changed in the past few decades.
PS – As you may know, I have started including a link-up with my monthly reviews. The reviews are an informal listing of a few things I learned in the past month. My August review will go live at 6am Pacific on Wednesday, September 1. If you want to play along, write a post on or before September 1, come here, and link up!