Kindergarten: What’s the Fuss?

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First of all, I can’t believe We are here. This year, my son enters kindergarten. Time really does fly. I can’t say it’s all been fun, but I’m glad we’ve made it to this point. May I confess: I’m quite terrified too. I laughed at countless viral videos of parents acting a plum fool, in the words of my mother, on the first day of kindergarten.

It can’t be that bad. Is it? 

Other than the emotional first day drop off I really didn’t give kindergarten much thought. Truthfully, the time snuck up on me. Now that we are, I’m noticing my own apprehensions are beginning to develop. And now that I have begun the dreadful enrollment process, I have so many questions and those questions have narrowed down to a few concerns.

Here they are:

Not all schools are created equally.

I’m not sure how elementary schools are in other school districts but the schools in our district are disproportionately different. Even though school officials will tell you they are all the same they aren’t. If they were, there wouldn’t be a need for the “school of choice election process”. Right? Schools in our district have been ranked by folks not related to the district. And it’s quite obvious that some schools outperform others. It just so happens my son’s home school is one of the lower performing schools. The literacy levels are low and so are the test scores. Guess where my child won’t be attending?

Kids are mean

Yes, kids are mean, even at the tender age of five. Thankfully, my son has been going to “school” for two years already. Preschool has helped him develop socially. He plays really well with other children most of the time. But that doesn’t mean other children will play well with him. On a few occasions, I’ve witnessed some of his classmates taunting each other on the playground and during LEGO time. Granted, one instance was a brawl between siblings, but still. I am doing what I can to teach my son how to deal with bullying. “If someone is bothering you at school, walk away, play with other kids and if it keeps happening to you, tell your teachers.” How do I know he will remember all that I taught him?

My son is Black

This is the one the scares me the most.

My son is currently the only black boy at his pre-school. It’s actually been this way since he’s been there. In the back of my mind, I am always thinking and sometimes worrying about how he is being perceived. Studies show Black boys are more likely to be seen as “problem” children than their peers. Are they looking at him from that lense? He does check a few boxes that make it easier for teachers to prejudge. He’s black, he comes from a single-parent home, his father isn’t active. What are they thinking? God forbid when something happens behaviorally; I wonder how will he be reprimanded. School suspensions are higher for black children than any other ethnicity. There are challenges faced in school discipline, school segregation and the achievement gap in K-12 education. So my hope is I begin to discover programs and innovations that are trying to solve these problems sooner than later.

Who would have thought there was so much to consider as it pertains to kindergarten? I surely did not. But as the time approaches, my awareness towards these concerns has heightened. Sure, there are things I will have absolutely no control over. I won’t be able to stand up for my child and protect him from every bully. I will not be around all of the time to make sure he gets along well with other children. There are some times that he will just have to learn on his own, for his maturation’s sake. And I am perfectly oK with that. I wasn’t sure what kind of mother I will be by the time my son reached this milestone, but it’s turning out I will be the type to advocate for my son. One that will do I all I can to assure he has the best educational experience he can.

Has your child(ren) completed kindergarten? What were some of your concerns? How did you get over your anxiety?

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