Like I wrote about last week, everyone keeps talking about how huge kindergarten is as a milestone. And B and I disagree *with everyone else* on that. Our reason being that we feel like most kids have already been to some kind of school. At least around here they have. Even if it was two days a week, they know what school is and have done the whole separation thing.
Yesterday, I saw WHY we feel this way, up close and personal. I actually FELT the milestone and it wasn't even my child...
I had to drop some stuff off at the Glen Rock Jewish Center mid-morning. I guess even in the three years E went there for preschool, I'd never shown up in the first few days while the 2's class was on the playground. When E was IN the 2's, the parents were strongly encouraged not to be anywhere they could see us. I only need to be told that once. I don't need to make life more difficult for anyone, especially the 2's and their teachers. After the 2's, I was at work at that hour. In the 3's, I wasn't working anywhere nearby either, so I couldn't really just stop in. But yesterday, I did.
Oh boy, do Morahs Jill, Marleny & Sharon definitely deserve a big pat on the back and something else. As I walked up, I heard at least five little ones crying. Totally natural. E still had kids crying in the beginning of his 4's class. I heard Jill doing "phone calls" (pretend) to mommies and daddies to ease their fears and get rid of their tears. One little non-crier blew me a kiss. I blew one right back.
As I walked in, I remembered back to E's first day...first week in the 2's. He didn't cry because he'd gotten it out of his system in the camp he went to there a two months prior. But there were definitely criers and kids who had a hard time transitioning. But they did it. I thought about E's beginning of the 2's through the end of the 2's. I thought about how they all started, basically as babies, and grew into little people. They sort of toddled in and walked proudly out. THAT, to me, is a milestone. K has been easy-breezy compared to that feeling most parents and kids had that first week of leaving their babies for the very first time. Some had used daycare before so it wasn't AS huge, but I think two is the new five in that respect. A majority of people aren't waiting until kindergarten for kids to be in such socialized, structured environments. Not around here at least. Whether by necessity or choice, the benefit of a school type setting from one to five days a week seems to be more of norm and doing it early like age two or three.
I felt proud of those littles on that playground and they weren't even mine. They made it through another morning without the security of mom or dad and they're on their way to an awesome year, with amazing teachers, an educational curriculum and FUN. Maybe they were all crying that first day. Yesterday was Day #4. There were maybe a third of the crying. Perhaps by day #10 or #20 none will be crying. But I KNOW, by the end of the school year in June, they will all walk out of there a little more grown up with a lot of pride. That, is the best milestone of all.
Have an awesome year little 2's, 2's teachers, and 2's parents! You're an inspiration and a reminder of how independence is such a gift.