Ozark kindergarten open house helps students and parents get used to new phase of life
OZARK, Mo. (KY3) - The first day of kindergarten can be an emotional time for children and parents. That’s why Ozark had a kindergarten open house on Friday to help both groups deal with the first-day jitters before the school year arrives.
Parents were also allowed to ride the buses with their children and hear from their teachers about how classes are run. At the introduction to her class, teacher Kim Maddox had the students sit on the carpeted floor with their parents standing in the back of the room as she read a book titled “The Night Before Kindergarten,” a take-off on the classic “Night Before Christmas” book.
And sure enough, one of the book’s sections addressed that the parents were emotionally affected by the experience.
“When what to her wondering eyes should appear
But sad moms and dads who were holding back tears
Their noses so sniffly, their eyes red and wet
This was the saddest goodbye Miss Sunrise had to see yet!”
“It’s definitely harder on the parents,” Maddox said. “For their children, this is the beginning of the rest of their lives and how they’re going to find their personality.”
“There’s a little bit of anxiety and sadness,” added Ozark West Elementary Principal Gina McBain. “For parents, their children are still their heart that’s walking outside them. That is who they’re letting go of, so I would say that I’ve seen parents crying a little bit more than kids.”
For the students, it was their first chance to learn about what was expected.
In the art class, for instance, a picture of the Mona Lisa painting with the caption, “Mona Lisa Quiet: Mouth Closed, Eyes on Teacher, Hands Quiet.”
“When they line up, we like for them to stay quiet in the halls, so they’re not interrupting other classrooms,” Maddox explained. “So we have them hold their hands behind their back that we call a Tiger Hold, and then hold their mouth like they have a bubble inside so they know they’re not supposed to be talking.”
But a kindergarten student named Adeline Meyers took the bubble instructions very literally. She kept her cheeks puffed out like she had a mouth full of bubble gum not only as she walked from class to class but looked like she was holding her breath as she listened in the classroom as well.
Her mom and stepfather explained that the “bubble of silence” was something Adeline had been preparing for in anticipation of using it in her new surroundings.
“We do the bubble game at home quite often,” said Tyler Buechler.
“She’s a little bit sassy,” Naomi Meyers-Buechler added. “In fact, one of the main comments from her pre-school teachers was that they loved her humor.”
And yes, her parents were definitely having a hard time adjusting as well.
“She’s just a tiny little person in a big ‘ol building,” Naomi said. “It’s kind of overwhelming. There were tears a lot of times when I would drive by this big school and think, ‘No, maybe we should just homeschool.’”
“Of course, there’s a fear of what she’s going to learn from other students and people that aren’t her parents,” Tyler added. “But at the same time, we find it very important to have a different outlook on the world that’s not just from the bubble of her family.”
For her part, Adeline seemed to handle her new surroundings well.
Of all her classes which one was her absolute favorite?
“The playground,” she replied.
Adeline also enjoyed getting some new school supplies.
“I got some ice cream scissors,” she said.
When asked if they are used to cutting ice cream?
“No,” she answered. “Just paper.”
And maybe children handle kindergarten better now than in the past because there are other classroom-type settings they become used to before they arrive here.
“They have pre-school, and we offer summer school, so that really eases the anxiety,” Maddox pointed out. “I have kids that are very excited to come to school, and they just look at mom and dad and say, ‘See ‘ya later!’”
“I think more students are coming from daycares and childcare because more parents are working, so that’s how our culture has changed,” McBain said. “It’s natural for parents to be apprehensive to let their kids go, and they can get sad if they expect their child to shed a tear, and instead, they just turn and wave goodbye and walk off. That parent is like, ‘Oh, they don’t need me as much anymore.’ So we have to comfort the parents sometimes.”
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