Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Kindergarten: The Rookie Years

So you're going to start Kindergarten.  

Good for you, it's time to move on from all your creature comforts of home and join the 'real' world kid.  Gone are your days of Childcare or hanging out at home with your sibs and parents or caregiver... with all the things you KNOW and be thrown into this unknown world of school. (They're not fully gone silly...I'm just being dramatic for the sake of an article *wink*) You'll be alright.  Everyone seems to go to Kindergarten. 

What could go wrong?

I know, I know you're probably thinking your a little nervous, anxious...scared even...but you're also feeling excited, happy, ready for this...oh oh, but then your feeling a little sad (okay maybe a lot sad) too, but really stoked...happy, sad, scared, stoked, excited, anxious, nervous...jeesh... this is a lot.  

Guess what, soon to be Kindergartner, it's ALL normal, you're a human being, with a wide range of emotions, about to embark on a brand new adventure and it's super cool to feel all those may even feel all those things every 5 minutes.  Lean in kiddo...there is a good chance your parents are feeling all those things too about your rookie year.  Cut them some slack, they are human beings too with the same wide range of emotions as you...true story.

Lucking for you, I have had the privilege of working with kids your age for approx. 20 years AND I'm a Mom too, and my kids were your age once, they felt all those things about starting Kindergarten, so did I.  I've got your back.  Part of my job is to help you feel safe and secure so that you feel happy, healthy and ready to learn.  So if you are sad, that's okay, be sad...if you miss your Mom or Dad, that's okay too, miss them, if you're excited and feeling wild, that's okay too, be excited and wild...I'm here for you.  I want nothing but the best for you and to help you feel good about starting Kindergarten.  In fact the whole Kindergarten team wants that for you and your parents.

I've made a little list of things you might find helpful to do this summer to make your first month of Kindergarten a little smoother.

*  Practice using your lunch bag and containers for a few lunches.  Sometimes those zippers and locking containers are a challenge for little hands. Plus, it's really helpful for Mom to see how well you can open and shut and put away your lunch kit.  (not going to's major helpful for us too with so many little ones having lunch at the same time)

*  Buy your Mom a Sharpie Marker or order some Mabels Labels and get her to LABEL EVERYTHING.  I'm not even kidding on this one...LABEL, LABEL, LABEL...EVERYTHING.  So annoying (yet so true) please for love of labelling, LABEL.  We will have approx. 130 Kindergartners at our school...with roughly the same size clothing, styles of backpacks, lunch kits, containers, freezer packs, Minion toy, get the picture.  Label.  Okay I'm done now.

*  Practice putting your new Indoor shoes and Outdoor shoes on...over and over again.  All by yourself.  Practice will help you feel confident that you know what shoes are yours and that you can try.  It's okay if they are still tough to get on when school starts...we'll help you.  Shoes that slip-on or Velcro or have easy curly laces work best for the beginning of the school year.  Oh, and I have to say it...please label both shoes.

*  Definitely pack a couple spare changes of clothes... including socks and underwear...accidents happen to the best of us AND learning can be messy sometimes...I personally find some of my best learning is when I get the messiest.  Just saying.

*  Lunches:  Litter less lunches are best, that means lunches with little to no garbage.  Choosing whole foods for your lunches will give you the energy and nutrition you need for a full day of learning.  Make a list of foods you love with your Mom and I bet she will pack them.  It's pretty normal for you to not feel too hungry the first month or so of school...I bet if you are one of those people you will chow it down as soon as you get home.  Just with everything in Kindergarten, eating your lunch is another adjustment period.  (snacks high in sugars, preservatives and dyes should be avoided to help your tummy and brain feel good).  

*  Backpacks are a huge right of passage for Kindergarteners.  First of all they make you look super cool.  Second they hold all your cool stuff....third...well I guess that it.  Just make sure they are big enough to hold your mailbag and lunchkit and easy enough for you to pack them in it.  If your bag is too small it gets pretty frustrating at the end of the day to fit it all in.  You can also carry your special stuffie or blanket in there to for a nice snuggle visit to get you through those first few weeks. 

Finally, here is a list of my personal favorite resources for exceptional products that I use for my family.

Mabels Labels
Laptop Lunches

Each of the Lunchkits websites have awesome lunch tips too. 

My personal favourite for lunch inspiration is Pinterest (and I don't mean the pins showing you how to make every lunch an Art masterpiece.) Just good wholesome food combos, packed and ready to eat.

**On a side note, I use the word 'Mom' throughout this post, but I also mean, Dad, Grandparents, Caregiver, friend...basically any awesome person that takes care of you.**

Hope you find this helpful and I can't wait for you to start Kindergarten,

Marcia (aka Mrs.Spencer)

Registered Early Childhood Educator 
Kundalini Yoga Teacher (200h Oct. 2015)
magiCALMess Parenting Writer

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