Near the kindergarten rooms, parents, their cameras at the ready, were lined up with their children waiting to enter the classrooms. A range of emotions showed on the faces of the parents and students from excitement, to trepidation, to tears.
Aleisha Morgan waited with her daughter Lindsay. For Lindsay, who hadn’t attended preschool, kindergarten will be her first taste of structured learning. Although her mom was a little nervous, Lindsay was looking forward to the new adventure.
“I love learning and getting some friends,” she said.
LeAnne Hornsby, a kindergarten teacher for 15 years, said separation anxiety can often be harder for the parents than the children.
“I had a dad leave in tears today,” Hornsby said.
But some children were having difficulty, too. One little girl with a green bow in her hair clung to her mother as she tried to leave her in Hornsby’s classroom.
As the students filed into her classroom, Hornsby showed them to their seats. The pint-sized tables arranged in her room each had name tags and pictures for the children to color. She showed the children where to put their book bags and school supplies and then instructed them to bring their pencil boxes and crayons to the table. While the students colored, she hung little tags around their necks with their names and lunchroom numbers.
It will help the lunchroom staff learn their names, Hornsby told the children.
It’s just one of the many new things the students will be learning in their first few days of school. Some of the harder things for students and even parents to learn are the rules that go along with being in school, she said.
The children have to learn about being responsible for their papers and folders, where to put their supplies when they’re not using them, and loading and unloading a book bag, she said. They also need to learn the rules of dealing with peers and teachers, she added. The young students must also learn the basics of reading, which will take them through the rest of their school years, Hornsby said.
It can be difficult, said Misty Braggs, another kindergarten teacher at Ranburne Elementary.
But they love teaching kindergarten, because the children are excited about learning, they said.
“You see so much growth,” Braggs said.
Kindergarten isn’t what it used to be, the two teachers said. Gone is the play-dough and play time, now there is serious learning going on.
They’ll actually have homework tonight, Hornsby said.
Even on the first day, parents recognize that the year will bring lots of learning and growth for their children.
Aleisha Morgan summed it up saying, “I hope that she will get in here and have a good time and really enjoy learning.”