Helping parents transition to school

Hi everyone. My name is Tammy Axt and I am a music teacher in the Peel District School Board.

On the third day of school, which happened to be the first day for our kindergarten students, I went to do my duty at 8:05. I opened the door and observed as our students entered the building. I heard the usual friendly chorus of: “Good morning Mrs. Axt!” as our lovely students entered the building, ready for the third day of school. The door I stand beside is used by our older students in grades 3, 4 and 5 to enter the building. Most of them have been at our school for 5 or 6 years and have contributed to the wonderful climate at my school. They bring their friendly nature, upbeat attitude and are just a pleasure to greet every morning.

This morning there was one addition to the number of students coming in the door and going upstairs to start their days. There was one parent quietly wiping her face as she watched down the hall as her only child started his very first day of kindergarten. In a quiet moment, I spoke with the parent about our school and the very special place that it was. I spoke with her at length about the amazing things that are going to happen for her son this year, including all the friends he was going to make, all the learning he would do, and all the growth he was going to experience.  I also spoke with her about the beautiful and amazing children that come to our school. I told her how kind and helpful they are.

After I reassured her, I stopped and encouraged her to tell me about her son and how she was feeling. She told me through tears that this was the first day that she would be away from her child. This was her only child and today she was feeling like the time is going by so fast. That first day of school is a difficult one for many parents as I see them anxiously saying goodbye to the most important person in their lives and literally trusting a virtual stranger with their child’s emotional, physical and intellectual wellbeing.

This experience was a reminder for me that in the hustle and bustle of the school year to not get hung up on the lessons or the colour of your bulletin board, but instead remember what parents have just done. They have entrusted you with their most valued person in their world. They have trusted that you will care for them, help them and teach them all they need to learn this year. That is one important task facing us all this year.

The parent waiting beside me watched as her child cried for a few minutes and then hung up his backpack and joined the kids in line. He was even smiling in the next minute or two. She turned to me and very excitedly stated, “He is smiling, he is smiling!” She wiped her tears and I reassured her that she could do this. Finally, I gave this mom a confident affirmation that everything would be great, and a high five, and she was on her way.

Ultimately, this parent captured what most of our parents want for their children in our care. They want to know that they are smiling and that they are happy at school. They want to know that their wellbeing is looked after. If that is what we achieve for all our students, we will all have had a successful year! Good luck to everyone over the next nine months. I hope you have a great year.

 

 

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The Author

Tammy Axt

I am a music teacher at Red Willow Public School in the Peel District School Board. I love supporting students through the creative process and grooving to music! My interests include running and trying to learn how to ride a motorcycle.

1 Comment

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  1. I would like in to inquire about the possibility of reprinting this article in our monthly School Council newsletter which is distributed throughout the province.

    I think it is a great piece that demonstrates a teacher’s understanding of what parents may go through bringing their children to school for the first time or even when they change a school.

    thank you
    Theresa Pastore, Executive Director Parents Engaged in Education Theresa.pastore@parentsengagedineducation.ca

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