The Pumpkin just stared 1st grade this past week. For the other 6 year olds in the neighborhood, this means going back to school in the next grade up. For the Pumpkin, this means starting in elementary school for the first time. Last year, we had a bit of reprieve because she stayed at the Montessori school in the classroom that was ages 3 through 5 and included a "Kindergarten Class" for the 5 year olds. So we didn't deal with the OMG-my-kid-is-going-into-kindergarten-and-leaving-the-nest that all my other friends with 5 year olds went through. But the Montessori school only went through Kindergarten.
So, we had a reprieve, but that ended this year.
The Pumpkin was very excited to go to the elementary school for the first time, to ride a school bus for the first time and take the daycare's bus to aftercare for the first time! The local elementary school is excellent, and I was looking forward to gathering at the bus stop with the other parents. We meet the teacher at a back-to-school sneak peak the Friday before school started. She was warm, friendly, funny and great with the kids. We are very hopeful about the Pumpkin's transition to the new school.
The first week has gone really well. The Pumpkin loves the teacher, has a friend in her class that was in her class at the Montessori school (I requested that they be in the same class on the sheet in the admittance paperwork), gets excited about the bus, and she even got to get food in the cafeteria (hurray for no more peanut allergy!). By day 2 or 3, the Pumpkin was a bit sad about not making a bunch of friends already. She is so outgoing and friendly that I think she expected to make a ton of friends immediately. Londo and I both talked with her about it and explained that making new friends does not always happen right away. That other kids may be nervous or shy and that all the kids need time to adjust to the new class. Those talks seemed to help a lot.
Her teacher called parents on Friday to give an update about how the children are doing so far! She talked with Londo, and she said that the Pumpkin was doing well so far. How awesome is that for a 1st grade teacher to do?
She is aware of the Pumpkin's previous school and that we were worried about her transition into the non-Montessori environment, and she agreed that is an area that the Pumpkin needs to continue working on. Based on what I've seen and what the teacher said, I do believe she'll fully transition soon.
This is hard, though. This letting go of my child. This letting her out into the world without my supervision in a school with older kids. This is not sending her to a carefully picked daycare/school and letting her spend 3 years there with the comfort of knowing the kids and teachers and administration. She is in a new environment with new rules and new kids.
I just want it all to go well, to go smoothly. I want everyone to love her and think she's fun and funny and realize how wonderful she is. I want her to make friends easily and enjoying learning and study hard even when it's difficult. Isn't that what all parents want for their kids? But we don't get to make that happen. Instead, we have to let them go and see how they do on their own. It won't all be easy and there will be ups and downs. But I know that she will be able to stand up for herself, she'll be friendly and nice to other kids, and she'll always have us as a safety net.
First grade. Where did the time go? The nights may have been long, but the years have flown by.