Your baby is starting kindergarten! Congratulations! Lots of things are probably coming at you from all directions right now, if you haven’t already here are some tips that can help you be prepared for the big kindergarten orientation meeting where there will be a huge crowd of parents just as all knowing yet confused as we all feel the first time we go through something like this!
Babysitter (Spouse counts!)
My biggest error in my preparation for this meeting was not insisting (or even asking) anyone to come with me! I spent the time chasing my younger daughter around. Since she was being a little bit noisy I stayed toward the back as well, which meant I really couldn’t hear much of anything they were talking about which I found incredibly frustrating. If you can find someone to come with you to watch younger siblings or maybe even just to keep an eye on your kindergartner then it will make a world of difference because it means you will be able to really focus on the people presenting what you came to learn about.
Bus or No Bus?
Getting to school is one of the topics that can be daunting until you know how it will work! I admit that I am a little bit intimidated at the thought of my daughter taking the bus. A lot of the questions I had were about how the kids get to/from the bus and school. Some schools this may not be an option but some are actually a bit of a walk so it is good to know how it all is going to happen. Honestly for my daughter I decided that I will let her take the bus because she is really excited about it, though I want to be a very present mom and to be there on the first day…so I’m planning on driving while she’s on the bus to make a drop-off appearance and walk her to her classroom after hopefully being there to greet her as she gets off, at least for the first day or two…
First Day (this is a big one)?
Details like when school starts, when it gets out, where to pick them up how they get back to bus are all things that are very obvious once it happens any day other than the first day just about and so it is important to find this out before the big day happens! Also if the school has a dress code it is good to know about it as well, I was surprised to find out that other schools that some friends kids are attending are public but still have uniforms! I knew this was the case in some other states but until some of these conversations I had no idea, so yes it is good to know! Also how to pay for lunch if you need to is important for the kindergartners, I actually ended up getting this information later by email and it turns out I can pay online, very cool!
As an un/self-employed person who has time, at least when I have back up for my younger daughter, I am really looking forward to volunteering! I was surprised how little they talked about this (though again maybe I just couldn’t hear?) but I asked the teacher afterward by email. I recommend thinking about the kinds of things you see yourself doing as a volunteer and giving the teacher a list with your name and number on it so that they know you are a resource. One thing I know from teachers I know and parents who are involved in their kids schools is that teachers are overwhelmed a bit and will love the help!
Are there any planning/holiday/late opening days planned? Maybe they have a printout available? Entering the dates once you get a hold of them however you get a hold of them is a huge stress reliever, after getting I think the sixth or seventh thing in the mail from the school and school district it nice to know I had all this info in my calendar and wouldn’t be rushing around last minute trying to figure out this information. Helps with vacation planning too!
Another thing that could come up is strange weather, snow, disasters etc., and my last tip is to find out where and how to get information should any of this come up. It would be nice if all the schools had the information available by rss or twitter but that isn’t always the case.
So most of this will be covered in the presentation that will hopefully be taking place at the school your child will be attending, but if you aren’t able to hear or maybe they don’t cover it, these are things that will be good to know! When I attended my daughter’s orientation last week I thought I was prepared, and long story short I was absolutely not prepared. Simply put, I went by myself, forgot a notebook, and I brought both daughters, meaning that I was actually chasing my younger daughter around when I wasn’t listening or talking to my of the time. I left the meeting angry at the school and also my husband who happened to be away helping at a leadership seminar (mad he wasn’t there!). Preparation would have made all the difference for me and so I hope that these tips will help you out!!