Going to School


The air seems to be saturated with electricity about the upcoming events of that first day of school.  New backpacks, filled to the brim with supplies.  The supplies that were specially picked out.  The smell of new pencils, erasers, and crayons.  Anxiously waiting at the bus stop with friends. Getting on the school bus for the first time.   Walking down the energy packed school hallway that is lined with an array of kids who are overflowing with anticipation for the day before them.  Yeah!!  It is time for school to begin!!!

Well, that is how the majority of the kids feel at the beginning of the school year.  But there are some students who are filled with anxiety about going to school, who are afraid of going to a big new place with a great deal of people that they do not know.  That was me.

I was not ready for first grade.  I was the youngest child in my class and I was not developmentally ready for school.  I was a shy and introverted child who was very frightened about going to school and meeting all of these new people who I did not know.  First and second grade were very difficult for me.  It wasn’t until I got to 3rd grade and had Miss Clement that things began to change.  School started to become exciting.  I began to love reading and social studies. Miss Clement made learning fun.  I started playing school at home, and before long, I decided that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up.  I wanted to be a teacher just like Miss Clement.  A teacher who made learning fun!

I still had some difficult times at school in years to come, but my love of learning persisted and I had a drivenness to be a teacher one day– a teacher who made learning fun– a teacher, just like Miss Clement.

Later on in  life when I had my own sons I wanted to make sure that they were developmentally ready for school.  I was adamant that they not go through the experience that I did at school,  being the youngest child in the class, and not being developmentally ready to learn.  When they were born, I read all of the Ilg and Ames books on children’s development, tracking the boy’s development to see if they were on track with other kids their age.  Ilg and Ames had books published about the developmental growth of pre-school children.  They wrote a book for each specific age group.  Those books were an invaluable resource to me.

As a mother and a teacher, who had taught kindergarten and first grade, I believed that the boys weren’t quite ready for kindergarten.  So, to make sure that I was making the correct diagnosis I took them to be tested.  The testing showed that I was correct.  They were intellectually ready, but not ready in the other areas of their development.  So, I made the decision to have them wait for another year before starting kindergarten.

That was the best decision that I had ever made.  They began kindergarten as one of the oldest students in the class, and they were totally ready to learn and be successful in their learning.  They were also, throughout their learning careers more mature and able to make better decisions than their peers, which I found of paramount importance.

Many times boys are not ready for school at the same time that girls are.  Girls mature earlier than boys do.  Each child is different.  Reading the books on child development were very insightful for me.  Maybe they would be helpful to you, as well, if you are questioning about whether your child is ready for school or not.

God has a path for a hope and a future for each of our children.  He tells us that in Jeremiah 29:13  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  On that path we meet many people who He sends to help us on that journey.  Maybe it is a fellow parent to discuss our parenting issues with.  Maybe it is a grandparent or a friend.  Maybe it is a doctor or a psychologist.  Maybe it is a teacher.  God has many people involved in the lives of our children to help mold them into the persons He created them to be.

Maybe you are wondering about your child; is she or he ready for school yet? Here are some additional resources that you may be interested in reading.

Preparing the Shy Child for Kindergarten

Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?

10 Ways to Get My Child Ready For Kindergarten

May the Lord keep you in the palm of His hand,

Debra Smith

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