We talk a lot about emotions and building a vocabulary of feeling words at school. Our Class Charter – the ways we agree to be in our classroom – was created around the question: How do we want to feel at school? Recently, we have been looking back over our whole year in Kindergarten and noticing how our feelings might have changed from the first days that we started together in the Fall. So many of our kids reported that they remembered feeling nervous, scared, and a little bit excited when they started school. Now that they are Kindergarten experts, excited has stuck, but feelings of nervousness faded long ago. As they get ready to move on to Grade One, we thought that they might have some words of advice for our new Kindergarten students so that they will feel excited to come to Brentwood Park in September. Here is what they said.
“You will practice not being scared when you come to Kindergarten. You won’t be scared anymore because you will have so many friends! You should know that you need to try something, and then, if it doesn’t work, you don’t have to try it again. Like the monkey bars. I tried it. I learned that you can’t do the monkey bars with sunscreen on your hands!”
“I have a picture in my brain about the start of Kindergarten. I’ve locked it up. I am going to roll my eyes back. My eyeballs have tiny hands to unlock them. Okay, I found it! I felt great and positive in September! It’s okay to feel nervous, but you are going to be friends here. You are going to have a great time. You will never want to go home, because you will have so much fun here!”
“I was feeling scared at the beginning. I got my friends from playing with them. I just copied what they were doing and then we played. And then I find new friends!”
“Don’t feel nervous. It is kind of hard to say why, but it will be fun!”
“I was feeling nervous, scared and afraid at the beginning of Kindergarten. But it gets better and better until I wasn’t scared anymore. Kindergarten is so much fun! Don’t feel nervous, because when you come here, it will get better and better for you, too.”
“If the new kids are feeling nervous, I think I can be one of their friends. It will make them feel good and then maybe they will play with me every day!”
“At first I am nervous, but then I am not shy anymore when I met my friends.”
“Just tell them, it’s okay. Just try it out. Try to be brave. Just go and play. Once the first day just ends, they will feel better.”
“If they are feeling nervous, we should just tell them about all the things that are at Kindergarten, like the big blocks and making stuff. The first time they are at school, they will be nervous, but don’t worry. They won’t be nervous the second time. They just need to introduce themselves.”
“Something surprising about Kindergarten was I was doing art for my first time in my whole life. But here’s the thing, when I tried it, I was loving art! The new Kindergarten kids should just try something new. They might love it!”
“I was feeling nervous, but excited, too. Because it was a long time for Kindergarten to start. I met new friends. If the new kids are feeling nervous, we will be friends with them and help them. They won’t be new for very long.”
“I felt happy to go to school. It’s not scary at all. You will be playing at Kindergarten and meeting new friends. If you are scared right now, you should know that it will be okay. You will feel better when you get to school.”
What can we do to help the new Kindergarten kids, if they are feeling a little bit nervous about starting school?
“They should know that it’s okay if people don’t like you at first, because maybe other people will like you. You will meet lots of new friends.”
“I was feeling kinda nervous and a little scared, because I didn’t know if the teachers were going to be bad or if they would be nice. They are nice! If the new Kindergarten students are feeling a little scared, I would tell them, ‘Do you want to sit beside me and eat snack and lunch?’ Now I’m feeling sad that Kindergarten is almost done.”
“If you don’t know about Kindergarten, you can look on the Kindergarten blog. You’ll make new friends.”
“I was feeling nervous and excited. But there was already kids that I knew. They should know that it is going to be okay. When you get used to it, I think you’ll like it – when you know everybody. But also, boys are hard, because they like to play soccer.”
“I was feeling excited and a little bit nervous at the beginning of Kindergarten. If they are feeling scared, I will play with them and I will be their friend. I want them to feel happy at school!”
The most surprising thing to our Kindergarten experts, is to find out that their Kindergarten teachers feel nervous and excited each year we begin with a new class of students, too. Really! We do. But then the year begins and soon, just like our experts advised, the nervousness disappears and we can’t imagine having to say goodbye and get ready for a new year and a new bunch. We will miss you, Division 20.
Love, Mrs. Fleming & Ms. Di Spirito