On many Friday afternoons, I have the pleasure of picking up my grandson from school. On those Fridays, he comes for a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpas. We love those sleepovers just as much as he does, although on the Saturday following, we are usually both exhausted.
At the school, I stand waiting with the other parents and grandparents for the bell to ring—waiting to see those little faces come through the classroom door. His face lights up when he sees me, but he waits for that okay from his teacher before running towards me. Thankfully, he is still young enough to leap into my arms and give me a big hug.
After a recent sleepover, on the drive back to his home, I had a conversation with my grandson about school. During that conversation, I was reminded of my daughter’s experiences in kindergarten. Before she was even old enough to go to school, she wanted nothing more than to learn how to read. She followed me around the house with a phonics book. Along with starting kindergarten came great anticipation of what she would learn—only to be followed by deep disappointment. They taught the alphabet which she already knew by heart going in. She wanted to learn how to put those letters together and read books. Play time, though fun, wasn’t what she had expected. She wanted more.
Fast forward 20 years and now her son is about to graduate senior kindergarten. In order to proceed to grade one, he was expected to reach level C in reading. He proudly surpassed that level and will graduate next week—which started our little conversation. Math is another story. He hates math. He says, “Grandma, math is so hard, it hurts my brain.” I noted that he not only had to learn how to read in kindergarten, he has been learning math as well. When I asked what his favorite subject is, he didn’t hesitate for a second—free play and gym. He is quite the opposite of his mommy.
As his grandmother, I couldn’t believe that a child this young was going to school all day, every day, and taking the school bus. Truth is, however, I have watched him blossom through JK and SK. He has made best friends and learned to navigate all the social aspects of friendship, conflict resolution and meeting new challenges, and with that has come great confidence. Though he does complain about the learning, I have seen his face light up at his achievements, whether it be reaching each level of reading or adding and subtracting numbers. Most importantly, his mind has been opened up to our Creator and how His hand is in all things.
How things have changed from his mother’s experience to now his! I once thought it unthinkable and unnecessary for children so young to attend school full time. I see its benefits now —maybe not for all but certainly for some, maybe even most.