It is crunch time in kindergarten. Miracle time. Make it happen time.
Ten weeks of school left.
Yes, the last nine week grading period begins on March 4.
But I am a realist with years of experience. I know that I actually have just five weeks left to transform my kindergartners into first graders, because there are two enemies of education which are about to awaken from hibernation to take over their minds, bodies, and time.
The first is daylight saving time. Check your calendar. March 10. Ready or not. I’m all for having more time in the evening to garden and walk and take pictures. But I know that my students will also be going outside…and staying outside. The short after school playtime time they enjoyed in the winter will quickly be replaced by mothers calling out, “Come inside! It’s getting dark!” at a much later and later hour. Soon I will witness little eyelids drooping and heads nodding forward at about mid-morning for some. Others may survive lunch before dozing off.
The other culprit I face is sports, and for my group that’s usually baseball. Okay, don’t start throwing things at me. I don’t care what version a child is involved in- baseball, soft ball, coach pitch, T-ball or some kind I’ve never heard of, baseball means practice and games, both of which take time, time, time. Games are supposed to end at a specific time, but I know for a fact that doesn’t always happen. Practices are exhausting for some little ones. Dinner and other routines are changed. Bedtimes are later. I don’t even send homework after April 1st because past experience has proven that students either attempt to do it in the car on the way to practice or games, or they don’t do it at all.
So we’re down to about five weeks of quality teaching/learning time.
Many parents will be surprised tonight when I tell them I can predict with some accuracy how their child will perform in first grade. Right now that seems like an eternity away. They have nine more weeks! They have all summer! They will miraculously become better readers, writers, and mathematicians. Here’s the truth: Your child has spent the last 27 weeks showing me how they comply with school rules, how they respond to directions, how they organize their work, how they stay on task, how they react to new information, and how they feel about school in general. Chances are they are not going to change anything basic about their learning style by next August. They will continue to make progress, but more than likely it will be in the same way they are doing now and at about the same pace. Big changes in personality and work habits, happen, if at all, when students are mature enough and motivated enough to change because that’s what they want to do. My experience has been that third grade is the beginning of those kinds of transformations, while some children don’t find the motivation to become good students until they decide on a career path.
And don’t tell me that your child is going to spend the summer making up for lost time by reading and writing. I’d sure like to think that, but it seldom happens. I was a great student and yes, I spent some of my summer time reading. But most of my summers were spent working in the fields, traveling, or playing. That’s what we do in the summer- all the things we don’t have time to do during the school year!
So…bottom line: in the next few weeks we will be expanding our knowledge, practicing our skills, and gaining more confidence in our abilities. We will continue to make the foundation of education a little broader and stronger. But we will not miraculously make up for 27 weeks of inattention, carelessness, disorganization, and misbehavior. That will take a little more time.