Monday, August 24, 2015

The First Day of School

It's official!  I am the mother of a preschooler.  Our three-year old son just got home from his first half-day and is all smiles!  No tears were shed, from either side, when I dropped him off at 8:00 this morning.  And while I know we will all continue to transition these next few weeks, I could not have asked for a smoother experience for the very first day.

As a former classroom teacher, I know the first week sets the tone for the rest of the year.  Here are a few things we did that helped make the first day of school a positive one:

We did the research.  
Truly, I have been praying about where we would send our firstborn to school since he was roughly two years old.  Academically, he is very advanced.  Maturity-wise, he's three.

Over the years, I have spoken with public, private and homeschool parents.  I have asked many questions, including the hard ones.  I wanted to know what worked, what didn't and why they chose to educate their children the way they had.  I read articles in the newspaper and spoke with educators and administrators.  I knew there was no 100% ideal educational model that existed; we simply wanted to make the best choice for our son.  And we did.

With BISD's (Brownsville Independent School District) new open enrollment policy, you can send your child to any school of your choice, so long as you can provide the transportation.  We handpicked my sister-in-law to be our son's first school teacher.  Back in May, we visited her campus and spent half the day there, eating lunch with the students before leaving.  This gave us a very clear picture of what the day would look like.

The countdown on the calendar!
We are excited about it!  
All summer, we talked to our boy about how he would be starting school soon.  Growing up, the first day of school was always one of my favorite days of the year!  That enthusiasm is contagious.

When August rolled around, we started a countdown in our eldest's room.  We placed stickers on Monday-Friday of the first week he would attend preschool, and different stickers on his days of rest.  The night before, we had a pizza party in honor of school starting!

We treated everything, from shopping for school supplies to picking out his favorite backpack, like it was the best thing since sliced bread!  He began to feel that way, too.

We read books and watched shows about it!
One of our favorite series of books has been The Berenstain Bears.  In fact, I still own my childhood copy of The Berenstain Bears Go to School.  We read it multiple times over the summer.  There are many other books that also deal with school themes.

The Berenstain Bears Go to School
Our children are allowed to watch 1-2 educational programs per day, each about 20 minutes in length.  Right now, they enjoy Super Why and Leap Frog programs (which I highly recommend, but that is a different entry altogether!).  Leap Frog has a perfectly relevant one titled, "Let's Go to School."  Remember one of my earlier posts about making connections?  That's exactly what we did here.  Our son made plenty of text-to-self connections through these learning extensions, and it made him more familiar with attending school.

We have a reward system.  
Different seasons of our children's lives have called for different incentives.  We have done reward charts when potty training and encouraging independence with different tasks.  We told our son that if he did a great job at school, he could have one cookie when he got home.

Will we have this incentive the rest of the year?  Probably not.  But it will continue while we are transitioning.  After coming home and sharing his excitement about the morning with us, he asked for his cookie, and we gladly gave him one.

We kept calm and prayed about it.  
In my book, this was the most important thing we did.  Once it came time to make a decision, we were able to make one with supreme confidence.  It even made sense to us, though we had never considered this particular option before!  We were in agreement, and in complete and total peace as a family.

Speaking of prayer, we hope to make it a habit to pray the following over our son every morning (we started today): "The Lord bless you and keep you.  The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.  The Lord life His countenance upon you and give you His peace.  Amen." (Numbers 6:24-26).

We also pray, continually, for our son's teacher(s), administrators, classmates and staff at his new elementary school.  We also covet the prayers of those in our most intimate circles.

Does this mean we have all the answers and will never encounter obstacles in deciding the education of our children?  Absolutely not.  But we are so thankful for this current season of life, and are thrilled to come alongside this school in teaching our son!  Here's to a great year!


  1. Yay!!! I'm so glad it went well! Prayers it continues to be great!

    1. Thank you, friend! I always appreciate your encouragement. :)

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