Last year, I was a member of an early learning kindergarten team at A.B. Ellis Public School in Espanola, Ontario. Did I love it? You bet I did. Those wonderful little kindergartners were my pride and joy for nine months, and I feel like I’ve come out of the experience as a stronger, more resourceful and more capable teacher. With that new adventure though, I didn’t use the blog the way that I normally did, because I wanted to wait until I found a good way to use it that would benefit myself, my kindergartners, and their parents, but I never did quite get there, and so, for a year, I neglected my little blog. But boy, was there enough in early learning kindergarten to keep me busy. Getting to know the inquiry program that the ELK model is based on was phenomenal, and I feel like I’m taking all of that with me along to my new adventure in Grade 1.
Tomorrow is the first day of school. And just like I used to feel when I was a kid, I have butterflies in my stomach. I have no doubt that the 17 children that I meet tomorrow are going to be inspiring, original and fun, but rather, worry about making sure that I can be the kind of teacher that these children need. I’ve spent the last several weeks getting everything ready for the classroom, and I know that the classroom looks fantastic. I hope it feels as homey as I want it to. I hope that by lunchtime, the students and I feel like long lost friends, and begin to build up the rapport that is so necessary for classroom families to begin to function.
I know that tomorrow is going to be a great day, and the butterflies in my stomach represent how anxious I am for it to begin. I always feel this way at the beginning of the year, and I think that’s a good thing – I think it keeps me on my toes, and I think it keeps me sharp, but most importantly, I think it keeps me striving to always do better. And I want to do better for these kids.
I’m looking at this as a continuation from last year. Last year, I spent the last three months in small guided groups with my senior kindergartners getting them to a place where grade one would feel like an exciting adventure. Tomorrow, I pick up that gauntlet with a new group of children, but it’s the same idea – these kids are excited for the next part of their education, and I’m excited to guide them through grade 1. Together, we’re going to keep their inquiring minds open, because those inquiring minds were some of the most amazing things I saw come out of an early learning kindergarten classroom. Together, we’re going to take all of the wonderful strategies that they learned in their early learning kindergarten classroom, and we’re going to adapt them to our new grade 1 setting. Together, we’re going to learn from one another, as we embark on this new adventure together.
I can’t wait.