What I Learned at Kindergarten Orientation

Children playing on sled with Dad after snow storm by Rochester NY Documentary Family Photographer Gabriella Hunt
My oldest baby is in Kindergarten this year. With that comes a lot of firsts (first teacher, first time on the school bus, etc). A few weeks ago, we had our first open house. 
For the days leading up to the Open House, my daughter went on about how she was going to “teach” and “school” me on that day. As she spoke, I imagined her teaching me all the new things she’s been learning these past few months: sight words, numbers, rhyming, etc.—the typical Kindergarten curriculum. Finally after much anticipation, the day came. During our time there, she read me the story displayed in the front of her classroom about a toy store, proudly showed me the binders full of art work her class created, and eagerly pulled me by the arm throughout the room to give me a tour of the most important places within her classroom: her desk, the puppet theater, the math corner, the bathroom (the girl has her priorities). We learned a lot about her Kindergarten experiences and what she had been taught

 Children playing on sled with Dad after snow storm by Rochester NY Documentary Family Photographer Gabriella Hunt 

The most profound lesson I left with was from the binder full of artwork her and her classmates created. The artwork in the binder had a theme: Things I like to think about. As I sifted through the binder, I noticed they all had one thing in common: connection. Each piece highlighted special moments with the important people in their lives. 
My daughter’s paper said “sledding with my dad”. Others I saw ranged from “watching TV with my sister” to “playing in the backyard with mom”. Not one of the papers mentioned anything material. 


What made the most impact on this group of 4-6 year olds weren’t ‘things’. They were everyday experiences they had with the people they love. 
I know the day-to-day moments with our kids are invaluable, but it’s easy to forget due to the chaos of the everyday. As a working mom who spends many hours in an office away from my family, it’s something I am guilty of. It’s easy to get caught up trying to plan the “perfect” meal, gift, party, outing, activity, etc. and forget the value of the “boring” moments. This was a good reminder of how significant ANY moment is and how special they are to our kids. 
With the New Year here, social media is riddled with posts of 2019 successes and 2020 resolutions. When life doesn’t seem to match what we see online, it’s easy to feel like we are falling short. Please let this story remind you your kids will not walk away from the year remembering the ways you fell short. They will remember all the incredible memories you created with them.


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