Well, today was Koa's first day of school. Wasn't he just born!? How is he already our big kindergartner!? He's going to Hopkins Elementary School here in Sherwood, which is close enough to ride our bikes from our house. So we figure we'll ride our bikes back and forth as long as the weather's good, and then when it starts raining for the rest of the year, he can take the bus. Koa's excited about both. So for his first day of school we rode our bikes. This district does half-day kindergarten, and he's in the PM class, so he goes from 11:40 to 2:15.
Koa had Orientation 2 days ago which was an abbreviated day to let him see what Kindergarten is going to be like. We called it his "Practice Day". We got his backpack all set and found where to lock up his bike and where his classroom was located in the school. I (Zak) was actually not there to drop Koa off for Practice Day (I was in school myself), but Kathy reports that Koa was about 30 feet in front leading the way towards his room. No timidity in that boy!
For the last couple days we've been discussing with him various topics in preparation for Kindergarten, and school life in general. Most of these things we've been working on for years now, so whenever we broached the subject again this time Koa would say, "I KNOW that already, Dad!" We think maybe he does. He knows that not only is he not to be a bully, but that we expect him to defend those who can't defend themselves against bullies. To stand with the weaker kids. He knows that bullies aren't bad kids or even intend to be mean, but that they maybe haven't had a good example of how to treat other people. He needs to be a good example to bullies. He knows that the only people allowed to pick him up from school are Mom, Dad, and Uncle Wes - if anyone else tries to pick him up, he's to tell a teacher. And he knows that his pistole is for him alone - no one else is allowed to see it or touch it. If someone tries he's to, tell a teacher. I think those were the big things we've been preparing him with.
So, all 5 of us rode our bikes (well, Caz and Arwen rode in the trailer) over to Koa's school to take him to his first day of Kindergarten. Ms. Thompson's policy is that everyone lines up outside the classroom against the wall and then she'll let them all in together. So when we got there Koa stood in his line with his new little classmates, and we stood in our line on the opposite wall with the rest of the parents dropping their kids off for the first time. When Ms. Thompson came out she welcomed everyone, gave the kids some instructions on what they were to do once they got in, and then they all started filing towards the door. But just as Koa was about to go inside, he looked over at us, stopped, and told Ms. Thompson that he had to give his brother a hug real quick! She chuckled and said that was fine, so he jumped out of line, ran over to Caz and gave him a big hug, gave me a quick hug, then ran into his classroom!
A few (short) hours later we peddled back over to Koa's school to pick him up. When we got there, his class was already outside walking towards the queue of buses. When Koa saw us, he jumped out of line and ran over to leave with us, but was stopped by his teacher's aid. Apparently the default is to put Koa on his bus; not to have us pick him up. So now we know that if we're going to pick Koa up on our bikes in the afternoon, we need to send a note in the morning saying as much. Tomorrow Koa will ride the bus back and forth just to see what that experience is like. He's pretty excited about it. Luckily, the bus stops right here at our house!
From what we've been able to get out of Koa, he enjoyed his first day. He didn't miss us at all, he says. He made one new friend (Bradley) and had 2 storytimes on the carpet. They began working on a class picnic basket that when completed (based on their behavior), they will use to go outside on a class picnic. He learned a new song (something about 8 pigs in a row) and had a fruit snack. Koa told us that his fruit snack had corn syrup in it, but he decided that if we were there with him, we would have allowed him to choose for himself if he was going to eat it or not. So he chose to eat it! Also, the class's "person of the day" taught them the letter of the day (his teacher dressed as a magician and pulled a motorcycle, a mug, and a moose out of her magic hat. Can you guess what the letter of the day was!?
You can see the handful of pictures we took today in Koa's photo album. Now we'll see what Koa's second day of Kindergarten brings...