Kindergarten culture shock. Eleventh of twenty-six posts in the April 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge on the theme “Whispering Chimneys: My Altamont childhood” — where my genealogy journey began. Wish me luck!
Up until Kindergarten, I lived on our farm Whispering Chimneys with my parents, maternal grandparents and my brother Mark — who wasn’t born until I was four. So I was used to quiet times in a rural setting surrounded by grownups.
Sure, kids came over for birthday parties and such — and I could yell across the two-lane highway to my neighbors Kathy and Carol Ann when I went down to get the mail.
But these were mere episodes in my otherwise tranquil country life. Even my weekly dance class with the daughters of some of my parents’ friends was a small gathering that only lasted about an hour.
Room full of kids
None of this prepared me for Kindergarten culture shock. Gone were the contemplative times of amusing myself with whatever came to hand on the farm — replaced by a room chock full of boisterous children and a half-day schedule of activities.
Altamont Elementary provided my parents with a Happy Days in Kindergarten handout, which I still have, outlining the goals for us youngsters. It featured a more structured itinerary than I was used to.
- Arrival – Remove wraps, play at tables.
- Group Meeting – Roll call, prayer, flag salute, visiting time.
- Group Activity & Unit Work – Building with blocks, easel & finger painting, clay modeling, drawing, doll corner, imaginative play, puzzles, etc.
- Clean Up
- Quiet Time – Records, poems, finger plays
- Story Time
- Music Time – songs, rhythms, rhythm band
- Active games – Outdoors when possible
- Unit Work – Animals, farm, zoo; seasons & holidays; store, post office.
- Manuscript Writing – If the child shows readiness to learn handwriting.
- Life skills – Safety habits (like safe street crossing); Health habits (like washing hands before meals); Attendance (showing up for school).
Yikes! And all of this crammed into a two-hour session — either 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. — though I can’t remember which one I was in.
On my own
To top it all off, I’d be heading there on my own because the booklet said, “We encourage Kindergarteners to come to school alone even on the first day, as self reliance and independence are qualities we hope each pupil will develop.”
So my mom pinned a little school bus tag on me, and off I went each day for the round trip commute to school. And after a while a funny thing happened — I got to like it!
The feel of the finger paints gliding across slippery paper, the story time books Mrs. Cudney read aloud, the clamor of the noisy rhythm band — and even my mob of classmates — became a part of my new life away from the farm.
Sure enough — just like the booklet said — Kindergarten was my first step toward independence.
Up next – Liz: My modern grandmother. Please stop back!
© 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.