Friday, September 9, 2011
Big Day, Big Things Ahead
This week we met B’s kindergarten teacher at a “meet and greet” and he officially started school the next day. On the wings of blog-reading inspiration we started a tradition last year of presenting B’s teacher with a book that serves as both back-to-school gift and introduction. The book we chose has a dual value: it creatively demonstrates some of the cognitive skills developed in kindergarten while showcasing a universal moral truth. My own classroom experience convinced me that the first day of school would be too harried for thoughtful gift-giving, so we chose to deliver it at the “meet and greet” activity.
I am so grateful that our district continues to preserve the day-early meet and greet for the sake of 5 year-old social emotional development (and 30 something year old social emotional health). Visiting the classroom, exploring on our own terms, and having a quick conversation with the teacher made both of us rest easier the night before the official start. In addition to exploring the room, each child colored his or her own birthday candle and chose a car or shoe to color and represent their chosen method of transportation. Each child was able to pick a few books from the bin of gently used books the teacher had decided to thin from her shelves. After B showed her the books he chose, he handed her the book we brought as a gift.
Building Blocks of Reading
A little blog/wishlist/review browsing led me to discover Leo Lionni’s The Alphabet Tree. Like many of Lionni’s books, the illustrations are whimsical and the morals are evident without being heavy handed. The story opens by explaining that some letters who enjoyed sitting among the outer leaves of a tree are blown away when the wind is strong. With the help of a word bug and a very intelligent caterpillar, the letters learn to make words, and to make meaning from the words by arranging sentences. B has enjoyed a lot of alphabet play and practice this summer, so he was excited to share some of his knowledge with his teacher. She was surprised and gracious, and B swelled with pride when she chose to read it aloud to the class on their first official day!
Appropriate for preschool, primary grades