You know the old saying, you are never too old to stop learning, and well the part that is missing is ‘even from a six year old’.
After 19 years of formal education I’ve recently discovered I am still teachable, coachable and nimble. All this taught to me by observing and interacting with my son during his first year in kindergarten.
Within two weeks he will graduate from kindergarten. It has been an amazing year of physical, psychological and emotional development for him.
While my son has learned to count to 120, to read and write, decipher fractions and journal weekly, he has also gifted me very teachable moments.
My Top Ten List
1. Witnessing your child learning to read is a beautiful thing.
Reading aloud to your child is the single most important activity you can do to assist in and stimulate your child’s language development. We have been reading aloud to him since he was 4 weeks old. Reading aloud not only stimulates their language development, it also linked to emergent literacy. I discovered the importance of this and how it links together, when I caught my son flipping through my copy of the Economist Magazine viewing it from left to right and describing what he was seeing in the pictures.
These past six months I have watched him develop from reading sight words to reading completes sentences, and within the past two months writing complete sentences. It has been one of the most precious and beautiful experiences of his first year in school.
2. My son is skilled at giving reviews.
As an entrepreneur, it has been awhile since I’ve had a formal review. Well that was before my son started kindergarten. Since that time, I usually get at least one weekly review, which is usually lunch related. Example given; “the Rubbermaid Container was too hard to open and my peaches flew across the table” or “you forgot to cut the crust off my sandwich, don’t you remember I have a wiggly tooth?”
3. School hot lunches are not civilized.
I opted into the hot lunch program hoping my son would broaden his palette a bit more by witnessing his classmates eating some of the ‘new’ foods too! Not so, and as a volunteer in the lunch room you get first hand knowledge of what the food actually looks like once it hits your child’s plate, which is much different than the way it sounds on the menu. I’ve seen dehydrated camping food look more nourishing and appealing than most of the hot lunches that come through this program.
4. Children can control their bladders for up to 8 hours.
Despite what I believe to be healthy habits, my son can actually hold his bladder and control his bowels for more than 8 hours. He has proven this on several occasions during his first year in kindergarten. To this day, I’m still not sure whether he has ever used the bathroom at school.
5. Most children have multiple personalities.
My son has demonstrated this to me on several occasions. This was confirmed after our first parent – teacher conference and by several parents thereafter. “Daniel is such a gentleman”, “he really likes to follow the rules”, “he is very empathetic to his classmates”. Then of course there is the other Daniel who likes to give me my review, tells me I’m not listening and crosses his arms and stomps his feet when we don’t agree with each other. (Note to the reader, I love both of his personalities.)
6. Games don’t have to be a competition.
Yes, I am learning to live with this possible concept.
7. Lice are a right of passage.
You have to be living on another planet to think you can get through kindergarten without being affected by those tiny little pests.
8. Birthday parties shouldn’t last more than 90 minutes.
I’ve attended more children’s birthday parties in the past six months than I have in his first six years, all of them run very safe, efficient and with lots of fun and laughter. If they run over 90 minutes (which ours did), adult beverages must be served.
9. Kids need a minimum of 60 minutes of down time after school.
All children are different in their energy patterns, but like adults children need unscheduled down time. Our son gets this everyday when he comes home from school. The first 60 minutes are his to do with what he pleases.
It allows for a transition from his high impact day with 23 other students and two teachers to his home life.
10. Kindergarten teacher’s are amazing.
Kindergarten teachers are some of the most gifted educators in the world. I have watched as they have accepted 24 insecure, shy and impressionable human beings into their classrooms and taught them to be confident, curious and courageous little human beings. They are intellectually thriving, absorbing information like little sponges and displaying rational and critical thinking skills.
This first year has been an incredible journey with my son, something tells me the next 12 years could be equally insightful.