Saturday, March 17, 2012

a morning in kindergarten

This first year of "real" school for Carter has been okay.  Not great, but certainly not terrible.  For a kid who has always loved school, it's been so hard for me to hear Carter moan about not wanting to go each morning.  What a change from the past two years.  I think our problem is two-fold...#1 Carter thinks he's missing out on fun things at home.  He knows that Kennedy and I are home together and we just must be doing something fun without him.  Um, not so much.  Usually our mornings include grocery shopping, laundry or cleaning bathrooms, a real party I'm sure!  #2 is that I'm afraid Carter is bored.  He likes the "fun" activities of school - recess, PE, play time with friends - but he's pretty bored with the curriculum.  I know this isn't a unique problem, as several friends of mine have struggled through similar years with their children.  Kindergarten kids present such a wide range of knowledge and I know that one teacher can only do so much with 25 kids.  In 3 hours.  It just makes me sad that Carter has lost the zest for learning that I saw so evidently in his two years of preschool.  He also is suffering from a bad case of "know-it-all-ness."  We are working on him prefacing a lot of what he says with, "I think" as opposed to "I know."  Trying to stress the difference between those two things and also trying to teach some humility while preserving his confidence.  It's a tricky challenge but most certainly an essential one.
Academically, he's doing great.  He is bringing home the first grade readers and seems to excel in math.  He definitely understands numbers and other math type concepts, it just clicks for him.  Reading is definitely harder for him, as he'll guess at words without trying to sound them out.  But the level at which he is reading is remarkable.  He's doing so great!  Writing and spelling are coming along, too, although, again, he gets frustrated if he doesn't know the right way to spell a word instantly.  It's something we will continue to work on.
I've had the luxury of volunteering in his classroom each Thursday morning this year.  It's great to actually see what's going on during the day and get a little taste of how he interacts in class.  I have to smile when his hand is the first to shoot up when the teacher asks him a question.  Mrs. Young says he's very enthusiastic.  I think that's a nice way to put it.

This week, Kennedy and I went to school on Wednesday, as well.  We attended the morning assembly and then helped out with a special art program.  Each year a local artist comes to Grass Valley and helps with a more indepth art project.  This year the students are painting glass tiles.  The kinders will have theirs permanently mounted in the bathrooms, which I thought was pretty neat.  The kids had only 30 minutes to finish up their tiles, so it was a little hectic, but I was so impressed by how some of them turned out.  The combination of colors by some of the little ones were amazing!

Listening to instructions before they started painting. 

Using a hair dryer to speed up the drying process.  Ms. Marty was the "Artist in Residence" this year.

Since we were at school for most of the morning, I thought it would be fun for Kennedy and I to stay and eat lunch with Carter.  He only gets to eat at school every other Wednesday and he loves to eat hot lunch.  It's kind of a big deal.  Kennedy was thrilled to be eating with the kinders and had a fun day at school.  Carter was busy talking and playing with his friends and rushed off to recess as soon as he was done eating.  I don't think he thought it was as special as I had hoped :)
There were a few things that I noticed during our lunch together.  First, I was reminded again that my kids are great eaters.  It's a blessing not to have to fight that battle each day (we have plenty of others to keep us busy, trust me!).  It was hard for me to see so many of Carter's classmates dump nearly full trays of food into the garbage.  I was so proud to see that Carter chose several carrots and orange slices and ate those things first.  Of course both he and Kennedy chose chocolate milk, but I think a twice a month treat is ok.  I'm not sure how we'll work lunch next year when Carter's at school all day - maybe he'll get to eat hot lunch on Wednesdays again.  I'm sure that will be a debate.

All it all, it was a great morning at school!

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