This sounds so cliche, but it really felt like yesterday that we were just preparing the girls for kindergarten. I can still feel the excitement, anxiety, and mixture of emotions brewing inside me less than one year ago when we went on our back to school shopping trip, attended kindergarten orientation and met Mrs. Bianchi, and read every school document with a fine tooth comb. Eager, nervous, excited parents we were….
At the blink of an eye, the kindergarten school year is now over, and the girls are officially “first graders to-be”. A few weeks before their last day, we had our final parent-teacher conference with Mrs. Bianchi….only this time, it was a child-led conference that included the children as well.
For each 1.5 window of time, there would be 3-4 families in the classroom. Inside the classroom were several stations that we rotated around in, where the children got to show their parents their reading skills, writing skills, and other great things they learned during the school year. At the end, the parents would have an opportunity to sit down with Mrs. Bianchi to discuss the child’s progress and developments. We felt really good about this format, as it allowed the children to take pride in everything they’ve done throughout the year!
In case you are wondering why Bridgette was dressed as Snow White that day, it happened to be “theme week” at school and on that particular day, the kids were asked to dress up as their favorite character. 🙂
On the last day of kindergarten, all the parents were invited to be in the classroom for a mini-potluck and to see what “freedom friday” was all about. Brianne and Bridgette always gets excited about “freedom friday,” which is the chance for the kindergarteners to go around the other kindergarten classes to play with their things. This time, many of the parents were asked to volunteer at one of the activity tables, overseeing a variety of different art and craft projects. Mimi and I somehow ended up at the face painting table! It was a bit nerve-wrecking for me to face paint for others, especially when the kids eagerly asked for things like vampire and dragon and princesses! Luckily, Brianne was my first guinea pig and after spending nearly 15 minutes to paint the butterfly that she wanted on her face, I was ready to paint those vampires! 🙂
Shortly before lunch, there was an unscheduled fire alarm. While us parents looked at each other, unsure of what exactly we were expected to do, the children immediately lined up and followed the protocol that they had been practicing during the school year. It was amazing to see how much they’ve all matured!
After the false alarm, we retreated back to the classrooms, where the children were asked to sit in the circle carpet. Led by Mrs. Bianchi, they sang several songs that they had been practicing for the parents, including Over the Rainbow, which of course made me teary eyed. Part of the joy in classroom volunteering for me throughout the year had been the opportunity to get to know all of the girls’ classmates. It was a proud moment for me to see Brianne, Bridgette, and their classmates blossom from kindergartners to first graders. A big, big thank you to their wonderful teacher, Mrs. Bianchi, for the love, nurturing, and just the right amount of whip cracking that she gave the kids, helping them grow, learn, and be prepared for the daunting (and exciting) world of elementary school years ahead of them!
At the end of the singing, Mrs. Bianchi called each student up to take a stem of gerbera daisy and the poem they put together, and presented it to their parent(s). When I silently read the poem, it was hard to hold back my tears!
Suzette, the room parent for Mrs. Bianchi’s class, had helped to put together a really special gift to Mrs. Bianchi ahead of time. We presented it to her as a group that day, and ofcourse, made her cry happy tears. Each child was asked to draw their favorite memory of the year with Mrs. Bianchi, and Suzette combined it altogether into a memory book. It was very meaningful, and a great keepsake!
With the school year officially over, we needed to celebrate summer! 🙂 Yes, we’re just always celebrating something in this household. Life has a lot of moments worth celebrating. Our country obviously agrees, or we wouldn’t have all the holidays that we do (Mother’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Teacher’s Day, National Doughnut Day….)!
Our first order of celebratory business was ice cream and spa of course! 🙂 We headed to our favorite street in San Carlos, Laurel Street, and prettied up our toes in summery colors before indulging in our favorite local ice cream joint–Cowabunga!
Bye-bye kindergarten, and hello first grade!