Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kindergarten Orientation

In September Hannah will be attending Junior Kindergarten so a couple of weeks ago we attended her Kindergarten Orientation.
In Ontario kiddos attend kindergarten for 2 years - Junior Kindergarten (JK) and Senior Kindergarten (SK).  All children born in 2009 like Hannah will begin JK in September.  The province is in the process of transitioning all schools to full-day kindergarten and her school already offers this so she will go to school Monday through Friday, full days.  It sounds like a lot but it's a play-based learning style and each classroom will have a full-time teacher and full-time early childhood educator.  I think Hannah is going to flourish in this environment!

After signing in and being welcomed by one of the kindergarten teachers, the children chose to visit a number of different mats located on the gym floor, each with a different activity on them.  Hannah chose to play with cars, then Polly Pockets and finally finished with a mat of building blocks.

After an initial welcome by the principal, each teacher took the group of 8 students assigned to her to her classroom.  Hannah did well.  She wanted me to hold her hand and asked to be picked up for a moment but then was ready to get back down as we followed the group into the classroom.

Once in the room she was happy to find a spot on the floor with the other children.  That's a familiar activity for her as she does the same at Preschool so it was a nice transition for her.  The 3 teachers present introduced themselves, said a little poem about circle time and then they sang a couple of songs.  Each child introduced themselves and Hannah did really well by participating in all of it!

After circle time the children were broken into 2 groups.  Hannah and her group went to the literacy area first.  She rocked!  There was a laminated card with her name on it that she traced with an erasable marker; wrote her name with plastic letters and then started to form her name using sticks that are a little bit like string dipped in wax that can be molded into shapes.

At the second literacy table she had the choice to play 2 games and she chose a challenging one and did quite well.  There was a game board with pictures on it.  She rolled the die and moved the corresponding number of spaces.  When she landed on a picture she said the word, sounded it our and tried to figure out what letter it started with and then put that letter on the picture.  She did really well getting top, yarn and another word correct before it was time to move on.  Way to go Hannah!

She next moved to the math centre (where I finally asked if I could take pictures and found out the answer was 'yes'.  Wish I'd asked earlier!)  This first activity was 2 parts.  Part 1 was finding the plastic numbers in a dish to match those on the sheet and then part 2 was adding the corresponding number of popcorn kernels.

The second part of the math station was a book about drowsy dinosaurs.  After a couple of pages she was able to anticipate the next page and 'read' it.  As she said the colour and number she put the corresponding coloured block on the number.

After we spent about 30 mins in the classroom all the classes moved back to the gym which was now set up with little picnic tables.  Hands were washed and I was excited to find out that they also sang a song of thankfulness for their snack before eating it.   This pictures shows that my little sweetie, while having a good time, was still a little out of sorts.  Normally she would sit 'inside' the picnic table but no amount of encouragement from mommy would get her to move in.  This was one of the few little clues she gave off that as much as she appeared to be doing well, this was still a big step for her!

Snack was a little dish of crackers, grapes and carrots.  It was no surprise to me when she ate everything but the carrots, but I noticed many of the other kiddos did the same.  Heh!  She's not a huge veggie fan but we're slowly working on it.

While Hannah did really, really well at her orindergarten orientation, it threw her for a bit of a loop and she regressed a bit.  For the next few days she wanted Mommy close and was more tender with more tears than normal.  The day after orientation she had a HUGE meltdown at preschool drop off, which was a first for her.  It was reminiscent of those she had as a baby when I was trying to transition her to the nursery.  One of her teachers held her and cuddled her close for a couple of minutes but she was still distraught so I quickly went back in and was able to help her through this.  Poor little lamb!!  It broke my heart to see her experience this and brought back memories of our earlier days at home. 

I know this reaction is totally understandable but I'll admit to being surprised that it happened at orientation time.  I was fully prepared that this might happen when kindergarten begins in September but I wasn't prepared for it to happen now.  I took her lead and made sure to pull in and spend extra time with her for the next number of days and listen to her concerns.  For now I've pulled back on talking about her going to 'big girl school' unless she starts the conversation.  We drive by her school often during the week and this morning she said, 'Mommy, I can't wait to go to my big girl school!'  This is a big step for her and I got excited with her.  I know she'll do well once she gets going, it's just the transition that may be understandably challenging.  She's doing excellent at preschool and I know that she will do well in JK too!

Now, here is where you come in friends.  May I ask you to pray about something?  I am SO thankful that Hannah will still be in Ange's school district so she will not have to change daycare.  Yay!!!  That is a HUGE answer to prayer as we love both Ange and her family!  But, we still have one small piece of the puzzle to put into place.  Hannah's bus will  drop her off at Ange's boys' school but her bus will not arrive at the school until 30-40 mins after their school is dismissed.  There is no way I can ask Ange to dress the other 5 kiddos each day and walk back to pick up Hannah so I need to find someone to walk her from the bus to Ange's home.  It's only .2 of a kilometer (about 10 houses) but at this time it's still an unknown.  I'm asking God to show me the person I can hire to care for Hannah each day and walk her this distance.  It's not far but I need someone reliable and responsible.  Thank you for praying about this with me.


  1. Find out if there is a babysitter list in the school office. Call up the moms on the list, and find out if they have a high school daughter (or son) that picks up any other kids. Perhaps they could pick up yours too and drop her off. Just an idea!

    Very exciting!!!!!!

  2. How is she going into Junior Kindergarten? So crazy! I'm sorry she has been feeling some stress about it - it is perfectly normal. I hope she warms up to it quickly. Once she gets into the groove, she will do just fine.

    BTW, Briana would have skipped the carrots too. But that shouldn't surprise you. ;)

  3. Hannah appears to be an exceptionally bright, sensitive child. More magic from the matching room, I think.
    I believe you will find a very responsible, upper-grade student to help you with this.

  4. Hannah is doing very well. I remember learning all what she did in Kindergarten. Times have really changed! You need a high school student if their school done at that time. Or maybe her grandparents can help out or she can stay at the schools daycare till Ange picks her up.

  5. What an awesome orientation your school put on! An responsible older student or the parent of a fellow student might be a good option. Will definitely send prayers and positive thoughts your way.

  6. Why not involve Hannah in this? You could ask her who she would like to walk with her. Alternatively, are there other moms faced with this decision? Could they be a resource?


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