Today was the first day for our Junior Kindergarten students. Our school board decided to implement a “gradual entry” for the Full Day Kindergarten classes this year. For the past 2 days, we have only had our Senior Kindergarten children. Today, we had 16 new children walk into our classroom. Most of our new friends had visited the school last June. Some of them had never been there before.
When the morning bell rang, my teaching partner and I were already outside. We went onto the playground early to welcome the children as they got to school, as well as speak to some of the parents. When the bell rang, and we tried to show them where to line up to go inside. I am not sure if we had more children or parents who began to shed some tears! It was a proud moment for those parents, but it was a scary moment for those children (and some of the parents too!). We tried to reassure everyone that it was going to be a great new adventure, and headed inside. A few of the children were still teary, but we were lucky….our principal came into our classroom and he assisted us in comforting the new children. He stayed in our room until all of the children had settled in.
The rest of the day went by quickly, but by the end, we were proud of all of students. Our Senior Kindergarten children helped the new students throughout the day with routines, and the “rules” of the room. Our new students, once settled, became excited about being at school and enjoyed their first day of school with us. We gave them large blocks of time to play so they could learn about our classroom. This also gave them time to meet and interact with the other children in a non-structured, non-threatening way.