Life is filled with transitions, that's for sure. A couple pretty big ones are going on in our house at the moment, probably like yours. Moving to the Big Leagues! At least in spirit and love.
Tonight I write from my heart, sharing a sweet story of family and personal growth, our will tested, our breath literally wracked by natural elements.
In a summer filled with both grace and turbulence, I find the end with hot blasts coming from all sides, tempered by my close knit family.
Wildfires, areas hit by various kinds of devastation in contrast to the most beautiful news of people helping other people, sharing love and hopefully starting to respect each other a little more.
The Olympics gave us a needed respite from the world's events, then things went back to normal. For educators, most of the summer was spent reflecting, planning and hopefully having a little fun.
Then there were lots of transitions. I read beautiful blogs and articles of new ways of organizing classrooms, changing grade levels, creating top notch schools and professional collaboration. Moving to new places. Doing different things than before. Lots of change.
Eugene got whacked this summer by record heat, pollen and smoke. Still in it. Lost count of days I've been with my kids. Even our dogs were filled with ennui. Our family bonded together and planned mostly indoor recess, with not one restless moment or sharp tongue. That's what family is about. Like schools.
I've had such a wonderful time with my family. I got to spend a lot of extra time with Morgan as she moves to the big leagues. I see her mood change a lot right now. She just finished the final days of preschool summer camp and is excited to be on her two week break, with a family trip to cousins coming up and other special things.
Morgan has been graduating and transitioning to Kindergarten for a couple months now, with school and family cushioning the blow of going to bed on time and being at school super early. Not to mention, full day every day. Pretty different.
I asked Morgan what it feels like to be going to Kindergarten. She reeled off:
"It's very scary and very exciting, but I know my Mommy and Daddy will pick me up right after school.
I'm very scared but I'm very excited for myself. And that's it."
Morgan brings us into her magical world of forts, dolls, play dough, tea parties, dress up, music and all the joy we expect at this age. Tantrums begin to cease, all of a sudden the little is carrying her baby around one minute and pushing its stroller, the next minute she amazes us with something else new.
Morgan brings a glow to everyone she encounters and amazes me with her tech sense, artistic ability and comedic self. Teaching her to read and write, as a lefty was interesting and I learned a lot which I thought I already knew.
While the outside air was really bad, inside the house was a home filled with fun activities such as:
Music and dancing
Reading and writing
Cards like Go Fish
Science and math
When we could, we ventured out for trips to the dollar and big box stores to gather the extensive list of requested school supplies and find several cute First Days outfits. While I watched it happen, but didn't quite believe it, our baby changed from a littler to a little girl. Like her mama.
Shopkins backpack had somehow already been loaded with a collection of toy cars, crayons and various useful little items. There was a definite transition as we asked Morgan to dump out everything, to her dismay, as we began filling it with school supplies.
That was yesterday. By the time we finished our wok lunch and the dollar store, laughing our way through, taking a lot of stuff out of that cart, buying extras for others, there was no way to garner the school list name brands from the big box store. You know what I mean. Some crayons are better than others.
We are glad teachers are not supplying everything. They already buy so much to teach the way they know best. Principals, too, donate to the entire school. Family.
I ponder the obvious that money spent on testing could lower class size, and provide necessary staff, arts, music, extraordinary activities, all materials and feed children, as a basic premise. Surely seems at least Number 2 brand pencils ought to be around a school.
That's another story.
The Kinder iist:
Headphones, tech fee, various glue sticks, specific brands of pencils, markers, paper, notebooks, scissors (we need right-left), folders, comp. notebook, backpack with no wheels, wipes, tissues, etc. Phew.
I have to admit we made it an adventure and learning activity with Morgan. I am so glad I was here to be part of this transition and just let me loose near any aisle of office and school supplies, anyway.
My daughter and I plan to go "Meet The Teacher", and next day drop off Peanut for her first day of school. I wouldn't miss it for anything. I'll be sure to be over here, writing a language experience story with Morgan before dinner. I'll bet Mommy and Daddy are going to be smothered with kisses.
I remember taking Rebecca for First Day of School and I was bawling. She was in first grade when I became a Pre-6th Principal. My husband dropped her off most days to spare me the loss I felt taking care of others' children, and maybe not mine so well. We had four in all, and a large portion of the nearby junior and senior highs.
Moving to Eugene was a big transition. I'm making another transition right now, as well.
I start at the preschool soon, 25 hours a week. I hope to also volunteer in Morgan's K class. Interesting, I started out in HS, and end up with the littlest angels. I feel so blessed to help out, what an opportunity.
Needy children, those labels, lucky kids are coming to this wonderful school. Kids age 3-7. So, one little transitioning to the bigs, K, one big (me) transitioning back to littlest learners, pre-K. What a juxtaposition.
All schools should have low class sizes.
Sixteen students, with three teaching and rotating kids sounds pretty darn good to me. Our Kindergartens had 32 children each. I hope Morgan's is small.
One way or another, at the beginning of this new school year, each of us is transitioning. It would be great to catalogue all the First Day and every day school success stories. I know a quite a few already and most likely, you do, too. You are probably in some sort of transition right now. Look forward, stay away from that rearview mirror. Act boldly with all your passion.
Every lesson taught or learned in school has a beginning, middle and end. Each piece has chunks, with a Set, Middle and Close. Transitions are critical. Before teaching something new, we transition by review of former learning. Kids know a lot and are ready to let loose in their exploration and creativity.
By checking out the Schema, or prior knowledge, teachers know to tap or build it. Then transition to new learning and understanding. Empathy and sense of team are also transitioning back and forth all day long. A perfect combo with mastery of basic to advanced skill sets.
Mid-course corrections slide along as transitions to previous learning and activities. By previewing what's coming next, we transition learning and enhance our collective growth mindsets. What's best for kids is always the guiding force of the curricular and pedagological cycle.
So transitions might be in classroom lessons, daily changes in the routinized life of a school, through turn around or transformation, and building capacity while working lean.
Transitions, professionally or personally. Transitions are everywhere. All the time. Our excitement, forward movement and empathetic coaching toward achievement of Vision and Mission ensure success, regardless of endeavor.
Right now I'm transitioning to go home, my bags are packed, I'm halfway out the door. In the meantime, it's time to say Good-Night Moon, and rejoin my family. Tonight we've planned glow bracelets and googly eyes night, family classic reading time, and most likely another fort.
It's usually raining in Eugene, so I know this too shall pass, the rains will come. One thing I know for sure is we've had quite an indoor recess. And lucky me, by cocooning I got to know our strength and depth of love.
Wherever you are at the moment, thank you for moving to the big leagues along with Morgan. It's a little scary, but exciting. Morgan said it best.
Leaving footprints on your reading hearts,