We learned that in Kindergarten Orange, the teacher has an Oops Book. If students misbehave once they get a warning. Twice and they have to write their name in the Oops Book. Three times and they put a check next to their name and miss half of second recess. FOUR times and they put another check and miss ALL of second recess. We went over the policy with Stasa and she had a lot of questions about the consequences and then declared that she would not have her name put in the Oops Book. Her teacher also has the kids settle their own disputes by using a "I feel, because, I wish" formula. Each gets to have their say - for example if they were fighting over a toy they might say "I feel mad because Michael knocked down my block tower. I wish he wouldn't knock down my building." and "I feel sad because Tommy won't let me play with his block tower. I wish I could play, too." She says it's really effective and we're going to try to use it more often at home, too. Maybe even an Oops Book of our own.
Monday was the Big Day. Kindergartners get to wear play clothes while the rest of school wears a uniform. I made Stasa a new dress for her first day - it fit her personality to a T. The first two days of school are special arrival days and early dismissal. We parked, took the obligatory first day of school pictures and lined up behind the Orange K flag with the rest of Stasa's classmates and parents. As everyone was lining up, Father Mike came out blowing bubbles and talking with all of the kindergartners. Stasa pretended to be shy and wouldn't blow bubbles with him, but happily stood in line with the rest of her classmates. Once everyone was lined up, morning prayers began and Father Mike walked around blessing everyone with holy water. We all got a pretty well covered with holy water as Father Mike is quite generous with the blessing. The kids LOVED getting blessed and were all giggling when it was their turn. After everyone was blessed and prayers were finished the kids started filing in to the school. Stasa happily walked in, looking back only to wave goodbye. No tears from any of us.
Early dismissal days are let out at 11:30 and our school has a rigid car pool pick up routine, so we were a bit nervous to get it right. We stupidly drove Sexy Flexy for pick up on Monday and wound up in the very last van/SUV line. Everyone waits for all of the kids to be in the cars before they allow cars to start leaving and they dismiss the car pool lanes one at a time, beginning with the car lanes and ending with the vans and SUVs. Lesson learned: pick up in the Passat always.
The end of day report was a good one and Stasa told us she had fun, but, and this is a Big But (in her kindergarten mind) the playground has NO SWINGS. THE HORROR. Apparently this was Big News from all of the kids and the first thing everyone told their parents.
Today was another longer drop off, but shorter than the first day. Just a few prayers said, hugs and kisses and the kids walked off to class. Only this morning Stasa was full of anxiety and tears and it didn't help that her BFF from preschool was snubbing her in line. It broke my heart watching her walk off in tears, but another little girl in her class gave her a big hug and I know her teacher was looking out for her.
This morning the school hosted a new parents coffee to allow new families to meet up with their sponsor family and just get to know everyone better. We've been trying to remember everyone's names and I've been making notes on our class roster so I can remember which parents belong to which child. It's been so nice having multiple events and opportunities to meet the other families and get to know the school and community better.
The end of day report was pretty much the same today as it was yesterday - Stasa had another great day and happily reported that she still did not have to put her name in the Oops Book and did was well behaved and didn't get any warnings. She was happy and good tempered for most of the afternoon, but then started falling apart toward 3:00 and finally ended in a full blown meltdown in which I put her in her bed and shut the door. Ten or so minutes later she came out and curled up on my bed and fell asleep for a couple of hours. I didn't realize the emotional toll the first couple of days would have on her and I imagine it's only going to be the same for the rest of the week, especially as we enter full days tomorrow. Here's to a strong finish for the first week!