I love first grade.
Once a week, I spend about 90 minutes in my daughter’s first grade classroom. Needless to say we LOVE the school that our two oldest attend – #3 gets there next year, yay – as well as our school district. Every parent must decide what they are comfortable with and what is best for their child, but we have found that our kids have thrived in so many ways during their time as part of the San Francisco public school system.
Okay . . . off the horse I get.
When I am there Ms. V usually has me help with”centers” where the class is broken up into about five groups, each group taking on a different learning task/concept.
This week I was to help them work on “describing” an idea. I was to help them think about an image, draw it, title it and then describe it. I usually start with the kids that need a little extra time, so this was a pretty tough concept to get for the first time. “Think of something you have done, seen, visited, etc.” I asked. I then started to show them my image, my old Triumph Bonneville T-100 *sigh*. They then helped me title and describe “Trixie Triumph” what she looked like and what it must have felt like to ride a motorcycle.
Not to be too cheesy, but there really is nothing more exciting to see a child’s mind start to “get it” and then be able to express ideas themselves. Their own ideas then began to pour out. Pretty cool.
Now them simply understanding would be satisfaction enough, but there is more to this experience that gives me meaning and motivation to keep being involved even when the rest of life seems so overwhelming. It really would be easier to send them off to this great school and trust that they would get a great education. That’s how most of us grew up and for the most part I think we turned out okay.
But there is more.
- My kids see me modeling investment in and involvement with the larger community, interacting with other children and adults in ways that lift up being part of a larger learning community and all the joys and struggles that go along with that kind of commitment and demographic diversity that comes from being part of an urban public school
- My own ability to be able to help parent other parent’s children is a gift. Not all parents can be involved during the day and/or in the same way, so I think for those of us that have the kind of schedule or resources must use those gifts to support so many parents who may not be able to participate in the same way.
- And as we have learned from daughter #1 going through his before, there is nothing like knowing all sixty kids in the grade level. Our school is a K-8 so over nine years we watch these kids grow up to teenageerhood. Because of these relationships with the kids and other parents, we can share childcare, lean on each other in case of emergency, basically trust that there are other parents caring for our kids.
Okay . . . I’ll just say it. It takes a village.
It also happened to be raining so I got to supervise the fort building during indoor recess.
Impenetrable, it is!
I love first grade.