Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Memories of Kindergarten

With Valerie taking her first step into the big world of Kindergarten tomorrow, I started thinking about back when I was a kindergartner. That's me at 5 years old over there on the left. I'm sure my mom had just recently sat me up on the bathroom counter, wet and combed my hair down in front of my eyes, put scotch tape across to make a straight line, and very carefully, with her nurse's scissors, cut my bangs, sending feathery, tickly little hairs down my cheeks and nose...

Last night I wrote down a list of every kindergarten memory I could think of. It was a surprisingly long list. And I seem to remember much more about kindergarten than any other grade until 6th. Kindergarten is such a big deal, it's the real deal. And, like many of my generation, I didn't go to preschool. I think that's why I remember so much.

Some things really stand out. I made my first friend in kindergarten. Then, she went to private school and I rarely saw her after that. But mostly, I remember playing with two boys. I liked them both, but I had a major crush on one of them--my first "playdate" was at his house playing with a construction set. (I wasted no time starting to like boys!) We used to play superheroes on the play structures. They were always Batman and Superman. I was Batgirl or Supergirl. But then, when we were on the tricycles, I was the "kissing witch", a name I gave myself. Yep, that was me. The girl zipping after the boys around the trike track trying to kiss them. If Valerie does anything like that in kindergarten, my mom will have one word for me, payback.

I remember I really liked my teacher, Mrs. B. I remember sitting up close when she would read us stories. She read the Georgie the Ghost books to us. I did a painting of Georgie that won me a 3rd place ribbon at the County Fair. One rainy day, Mrs. B. let us put big sheets of paper out on the blacktop and sprinkle powdered paint onto it. The splattered results were magical.

I remember when I got my ears pierced. I got to do a slow spin in the middle of the big rectangle rug, while everyone sitting around it admired my little gold posts. I felt very, very special.

I remember my friend who is colorblind, and his special set of crayons that had the names of the colors, in big font, taped on. I thought it was so cool that he learned to read those words before everyone else.

I remember the Halloween parade. We walked downtown, which was a block from the school, in our costumes. Mine was a dark pink ballerina dress my mom made, and a store-bought Raggedy Ann mask. My little sister came, too. Same costume, red-orange dress.

My mom used to volunteer in the classroom. I don't remember what she did, but she brought my little sister, who got to buy a milk and eat her lunch about a half hour earlier than the rest of us. I thought she was so cute out there at the lunch table. I had a really neat metal Holly Hobby lunchbox. My sister had Snoopy. I think my mom has them somewhere.

I also remember a boy in my class who used to wear cowboy boots and kick other kids. I remember sitting down to play Lincoln Logs with him. I was kind of scared to be next to him, but he was nice to me. He didn't try to kick me. That is one of the memories that comes back a lot.

During my 8 year teaching career (in the life between the painting and the kids), the time I spent teaching kindergarten was my favorite, hands down. I was really attached to those darling little kids. Being at Valerie's kindergarten orientation last week, I felt right at home. Kindergarten is such a very special place. Have you read All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum? It's true, and that's part of why I loved teaching it.

I just finished sewing Valerie's first-day-of-school-dress. She is so ready and so excited to go. I wonder what her memories of kindergarten will be.


  1. make sure you take a pic every year on the first day of school... we have one and it's great... last year they baulked but I won! Wonderful blog!!! regina

  2. Wow! You remember a lot. Can't say I do. But I do remember how fun kindergarten was when my oldest went. I highly recommend volunteering in the class, as much as you can. One two three four times a month. It was a blast and I learned how to make egg salad!

  3. Sarah, your blogs are so wonderful! Got me thinking way back, and I was suprised how many memories came flooding in. It is really important that moms volunteer in their children's classrooms. I wish I had done it more with my own children, but I have had the pleasure of volunteering in my grandchildren's classrooms many times. It is a great way to build self-confidence in our kids.