Kindergarten parents are a community of their own. And I belong among them.
We have lots of questions. Concerns. We need reassuring, to varying degrees.
When I taught kindergarten, I often said that teaching this particular grade level was 50% teaching the children and 50% building relationships with the parents - with some give and take on either side of those percentages, depending on the day.
It's their child's first exposure to school. It has to begin well. It just has to. If it doesn't, it's really hard to make up for lost time.
This week, I sat among the other parents in Tucker's class. I sat low on one of those teeny tiny chairs - I'd forgotten how small they really are.
I listened to the other parents voice their concerns and questions.
"I know you don't want toys at school, but could she bring her stuffed turtle? She really loves it. It makes her feel safe."
"Can I send trail mix for him to munch on? It's been his best snack since he was little."
"He still naps in the afternoon. Will that be a problem in a full day classroom?"
"Will you be able to put sunscreen on her before their recess?"
These are legitimate questions. And basic conflict management teaches you that any emerging concern is valid.
But as I listened, I couldn't help but notice how different my life is. My worries are different.
"Hi, my name is Tricia. My son Tucker will be in your class. I need to tell you, my husband died very suddenly seven months ago. We're still finding our balance. Tucker does well most of the time, but I wanted to alert you as you begin any learning units on Family. Ours is different... very recently different."