Kindergarten Orientation is always a nostalgic time for me as I remember the feeling of sending my first child to Kindergarten, and then my second, and on to my fifth. Now I have grandchildren who have crossed this milestone. Time marches on.

Tonight I tried to present a message to our new Kindergarten parents that we are partners in their children’s literacy development. I encouraged conversation, playing with names and letters, noticing print in the environment, playing outside, providing experiences that later become stories, reading aloud, going to the library, and drawing pictures. So many things were in my heart and mind. They all feel urgent. But mostly, I wanted to say how reading and writing are the hope of the future. It was hard to find the right words. Was my message strong and kind enough that some will consider doing just a little more of these things?

I looked around the room and saw many very young parents, older parents, maybe some grandparents, and siblings of new Kindergarteners. I saw toddlers with Legos, toddlers snuggling with mom or dad, and toddlers who needed to be walking/running around. I saw parents on phones, parents who looked tired and stressed, parents who looked concerned. What might I have said to offer comfort that school can still be a place to feel cared for, encouraged, and challenged? My message wasn’t front page news, but sometimes I wish it could be. Literacy is urgent. So much depends on what happens before children are 8, or 10, or 12.

I feel my own concern. It sounds cliche to say, “I want to make a difference.” But at the end of the day, that IS really what I want.

6 thoughts on “March 28, 2017

  1. I totally agree! So much depends on those early years before we get them. We hand out books at orientation and send one home with the final report card of every K-4 student to encourage summer reading. We hope it sends a message that reading is important! We get the books from Scholastic Reading Club and choose from the titles that they have for $1 so it’s not a huge investment but we hope it’s a message!

  2. Yes, Kindergarten is SO important. Those parents do really listen to you, so say it as best as you can. This is a crucial time for the child, but also for the adult still growing into being the parent they want to be. Say it!

  3. Kindergarten orientation already? We do ours in May but its amazing how much younger/smaller they seem in May than September! I love the line you included, “I saw parents on phones, parents who looked tired and stressed, parents who looked concerned.”

  4. Kindergarten parents, some veterans, some not. I remember when I was teaching kindergarten and having that same kind of meeting. So many nerves from some and so much excitement and ease from others. You are right, there is urgency. Many will appreciate this urgency. Keep at it.

  5. Yes, there is an urgency. I see the end result at the high school level of kids that have never learned to enjoy reading. So sad for them. They spend more effort avoiding reading than they do actually reading.

  6. the literacy warrior speaks!
    fav line – I wanted to say how reading and writing are the hope of the future.
    nice job

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