Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tip #2 to Future Parents of Kindergarteners

I personally didn't have the best experience in Kindergarten, which set up my paranoia for JAM starting Kindergarten. I was bullied by a 4th grader on my first day of school. My mom always told me that if someone picked on me to tell her and tell the teacher, but what do you do if you're getting bullied on the bus? When I got to school I was so nervous. I didn't know where to sit or what to expect. Then, at recess I tried to tell my teacher that I had to use the bathroom, but she told me to hold it since we're about to go back inside. How can you tell a 5 year old to hold it?! So, I peed in my pants and tried to play it off when kids asked me if I did. To top it off, my bus ride home was horrible. I saw the bus driver keep passing my house until I was the last one on the bus. He asked me for my address, but I had no clue what it was so we had to go back to the school to figure out where I lived. Now you understand where my paranoia of JAM starting Kindergarten came from.

As the days started to approach his first day of school I talked to JAM about what to expect in Kindergarten so there wouldn't be any scary surprises. I mentioned some of the stuff I went through hoping to prevent him from going through the same horrific experience. I talked about bullies, making sure you teacher knows it's urgent when you have to use the bathroom, don't talk to strangers, I taught him our address, and taught him both of our cell phones numbers. I quickly learned that it was a lot for a 5 year old to handle. Learning you address is actually pretty hard to learn! Where the numbers go and where the words go. I tried to explain the street name vs. the city name and apartment number vs. zip code to help, but he just looked at me like I was crazy. Instead, as he was learning his numbers and letters in school, I introduced parts of our address and my phone number little by little.

I also decided right off the bat that JAM will not ride the bus to school. It was more for me feeling comfortable taking him to school myself instead. With me being a full-time student I also had to sign up JAM for safekey, which is the after school program the school offered until I was able to pick up JAM since my classes got out at 5:30pm and he got out of school at 3pm. At orientation I filled out the paperwork that stated that JAM either gets picked up or goes to safekey. His first day of school was the same day as my first day of class so he would go to safekey after school. Instead, they put him on the bus! Imagine my horror when I found that they left my son at the bus stop since I wasn't there to get him. Luckily a mom saw him and stayed with him until I arrived. Yes, there was a lot of drama and words exchanged between the school and I, but this is where my communication advice comes into play. Although I'm not happy with what happened I learned that communication is key. JAM's teacher has a class of 34 students and she's only human. From that point on I personally went up to her every day when I dropped off JAM to tell her if I'm picking him up today or if he's going to safekey. So, I suggest if you have an arrangement like mine that you do the same to avoid any possible heart attacks. Check out my other tips to future parents of kindergarteners: Tip #1, Tip #3, and Tip #4.

What traumatizing experiences have you had in school growing up or for you veteran parents, what heart attack experiences have you had with your child's school to help future parents from experiencing the same thing?