As I prepare to send my first born off to full day Kindergarten, I am a jumble of emotions. Mostly I am prepared, but there is this bit of me that echoes a sadness as I lose the freedom to just shoot off on a daily adventure with my two little ones or stay in pajamas for an entire day. This week I received a note in the mail from my own Kindergarten teacher. The note included a story she shared with my mother as I took my Kindergarten journey, it certainly evoked some tears. As I send Cole, I reflect back onto my own Kindergarten experience with Mrs. Gaiteri. All things listed are from my memory of Kindergarten 31 years ago, so keep in mind perspective if I am a little off (sorry Mrs. Gaiteri).
As I entered the large brick steps of Rutter Avenue School for Kindergarten, I was eager. My brother had been in Mrs. Gaiteri's class just two years before and I was always in need of catching up with everything Kent did. Plus I had my pal Kelly by my side and even though I was on the shy side I felt secure. There she stood, Mrs. Gaitieri...tall, blond with a warm smile that would put any young child at ease. So it began, my adventures in Kindergarten which consisted of crafting at long rectangular tables, sharing in stories read so well that we all listened with anticipation, delicious snacks my favorite being the fondue that Mrs. McCormick and my mother made. We even had a reading group, which was not something heard of back in the early eighties. My favorite books Chicken Soup with Rice, Frog and Toad and It Looked Like Split Milk. The year carried on and as we approached Christmas, it was time to make a list for Santa. The only thing I wanted was a monkey puppet just like Mrs.Gaiteri used. It was a magical time, that included a visit from elves who left ornaments for each of us on the class tree. This ornament still hangs on our tree each year. I can not recreate the magic that I experienced that year, but still reflect fondly on all those little memories.
Though teachers are paid in money, really why most of the great ones are doing this job is to make a difference in the life of a child. As a teacher myself, I know I cherished the moments seeing a child read for the first time or hearing a parent say I helped their little one. Sometimes a teacher can influence your life, even as early as preschool or Kindergarten. That is what Mrs.Gaiteri did for me as a teacher, what I learned in Kindergarten helped me to be a better teacher. As I look at the hand written note she sent along to Cole I am struck that she has chosen the same note paper that I too used as a teacher. As you send your little ones off to school this year remember to thank and appreciate their teachers and even greater yet if there is a teacher that made a difference in your life take the time to thank them as well.