Kindergarten Orientation Night

1st Day of Preschool-Angry Toddler

Last week I attended Kindergarten Orientation Night for our school district.  I was one of the lucky ones in our city to actually know about it.  This event wasn’t widely publicized.  I think this was my first lesson learned when dealing with this school district.

I found out about this informational night from the city’s parks and recreation guide that the city puts out.  There was a tiny little advertisement on one of the pages.  I received the booklet in December.  You would think that I would have received something at my son’s preschool about this event. But no, just because he attends a preschool within the city of the  district and that the actual school district offices are on the same street as the preschool, doesn’t mean a thing.

I almost forgot about the event as I was out of town the weekend before. I made arrangements to go into work late that night.  It specifically said, “No children at the event”, so Angry Husband stayed home to watch Angry Kid.  The event was to be held at 7pm, but it clearly said, “get there on or before 6:45 PM”.  I made sure to get there at around 6:30, just to be safe.

I went inside the City’s Council Chambers, where the event was being held. I saw that there was a small table with informational flyers.  I could find out about after-school childcare, city programs, health and wellness evaluations.  I grabbed the information for the after-school care, since I never know what my work schedule will be.

I then sat down and took my seat in their auditorium seating.  I sat on the end of the row.  I then began the watching and listening. I’m a very good people watcher. It’s amazing what you will see or overhear. Within five minutes of being there, I heard this, “Well my son is gifted.  I hope they have the right programs for him.  My older son was moved to a different school locally because he was also gifted. I want to make sure my younger son gets the proper attention and education for his gifts.” I seriously rolled my eyes.  I was thinking, yes, my son is also gifted.  He has almost beat Lego Star Wars on the X-Box by himself.  He knows how to use our very confusing remote control to turn on the TV.  He knows his store logos.  We can’t pass a Target without him saying, “Mama let’s go to Target and get some more Legos.” I mean how gifted can a 4 or 5 yr old be?

I sat and waited for the presentation to begin. I looked in the crowd for familiar faces. I saw none. Yes, because our preschool did not pass out any flyers or make any announcements about this informational night. Why? Because they didn’t know either. Everyone got settled and I looked around. I looked like I was about 12 years old in this crowd.  All of the couples in the group looked to be in their late 30’s or early 40’s.  I have friends whom had children in their early 20’s.  I can’t imagine the looks that they would get from his crowd.

The speakers then approached the podium and began their speeches. They had an agenda with their topics.  Here is what was on the agenda.

  1. Welcome/Introductions
  2. School Readiness Program
  3. Kindergarten Curriculum
  4. Healthy Children
  5. Growth and Development
  6. Essential Information
  7. Questions and Comments

I was going through my mental checklists as the people were speaking.  I know that Angry Kid is ready for Kindergarten.  He’s been in preschool since he was two. They had some guidelines and checklists in the packet. He’s already knows and is doing all the things on the lists.  At least we are doing something right.

They had a Kindergarten teacher from the district speak about what goes on in the classroom. I learned that Kindergarten is 200 minutes a day.  I also learned that they go at a very fast past, starting in September. Yikes! They also talked about red-shirting or holding back kids.  Our district’s deadline is Dec. 2. You have to be age five by then.  They said that the average age difference/span in the kindergarten classes is 18 months. Yes, 18 months is the age span in the kindergarten classroom.  They actually said that they discourage people from holding their children back with “ber” birthdays, as in September, etc.  I’ve told that to a few of my friends. They are still holding back their kids.

We were given the health guidelines for entrance into the school system.  Angry Kid has received all of his mandated vaccinations, he needs a physical, dental screening (went last month), and a TB test.  All of the medical stuff should be taken care of at his annual examination near his birthday in May. We also heard about their policies and sick children.  One of the school nurses spoke on allergies, confidentiality, and how they handle certain medical situations.  That was very good to hear as Angry Kid sometimes has asthma flare-ups and might need to use his nebulizer at school.

The official “enrollment” information was then discussed.  We have to enroll the kids for the 2010-2011 school year starting March 5, 2010 online. There were several sheets in the packet, explaining this. The school district will not be taking any transfers from any other school districts. If you want your child to attend a non-neighborhood school, you have to fill out paperwork to get on a list, and you won’t know the results until June-ish. We have to also provide two proofs of residency.  Of course, all our bills are online, so I will have to print them out.

After hearing all of the speakers, I walked out.  I really did not have any questions for the speakers.  My mind was at peace, because I knew that our son was on the right track.  He is socially and academically ready for school.  You are probably thinking, why did she chose public or private, was that an option?

We actually live in one of the best public school districts in Orange County.  We have a neighborhood elementary school within walking distance, and the junior high is pretty close also (bike riding distance). I considered sending Angry Kid to private school for a little bit. But really, there are not that many private schools near our home.  I did not want to spend an hour plus of my day, driving my son back and forth to school. Angry Husband and I work full-time, and it’s hard to manage our schedules as it is now.  I also wanted my son to have playmates and school friends within the neighborhood.

So I’m going to start organizing all our paperwork for next month’s online registration.  In April, his “school” is also going to have an information night. I will get to meet and stalk the other kindergarten parents.

I’m not worried about Angry Kid starting kindergarten. He is excited to go in the Fall. He loves learning things. We’ve already told him that he will make some new friends, and have a new teacher.  He actually asks about going to high school, since we drive by the high school all the time.  Give it a few years kid, we are barely getting to elementary school.

Now, are “we” ready as parents.  I’m not talking emotionally ready either. I’m not quite sure I’m ready to deal with the parents of the other kindergarten kids.  Seriously, I saw them whispering in the corner of the room pre-event.  I heard the “oh we know you from soccer, etc.” Yea, Angry Kid wasn’t too keen on the team sports.

I’ve also heard about the drama and theatrics from my friends whom already have elementary school age kids. Ohh the PTA, the fundraisers, and the games.  Welcome to sorority life and college all over again! Someone please smack me if I become “that mom”.  I want to participate in my son’s education but I’m not ready for the mom’s whispering in the halls and the parking lot of the school.

27 comments
jodifur
jodifur

Ah, Redshirting. You know what the new thing is in my ultracompetitive district. Redshirting kids not even on the cusp. Like redshirting kids with a March b-day, like my kid. So they will start Kindergarten at 6 1/2. Not for any developmental reason, but so when they starts SPORTS they will be the BIGGEST. Please, don't get me started.

NotJustAnotherJen
NotJustAnotherJen

Holy Shit! ('scuz me) Orientation already for school in the fall. Thanks for the head's up. I know that BigBoy is ready for the BigK, but clearly I am not! I'm calling the school today to find out when our orientation is (or was as the case may be). Thanks!

The Mrs.
The Mrs.

You are so lucky to be in a good school system!!!

Bethany
Bethany

My school definitely has an 18 month age difference too- or very close! A lot of our kids start kinder at 6 and turn 7 throughout the year. I'm not really sure why they (parents/director) choose to do that though...it sounds like Angry Kiddo is ready for Kindergarten though!

Brigid
Brigid

The 18 month difference? My daughter's kindergarten class has close to that. The oldest child (a girl) will be 7 in April. My daughter will be 6 in June. I was almost guilted into being a co-room parent. Hahahaha. Best thing I didn't do in my life.

Jenn
Jenn

ONLINE registration for kindergarden? Thats so cool! I used to live in Irvine, CA, and prior to online registration, parents were camping out ALL NIGHT before registration just to be first in line! It was crazy.

court
court

He's going to to awesome! I'm so glad to hear that you walked out of the meeting with some peace. That is good to hear.

Amanda
Amanda

I smiled and nodded through most of our post. Yep, you're an outcast if your kid doesn't play sports. *raises hand* The fundraisers can get out of control. I have to wonder about the whole "gifted" thing in kindergarten. The standards I've seen are so low now. My friends that teach elementary school say if your kid can write their name when they enter Kindergarten, then they're ahead of most of the other kids already.

Mallory
Mallory

Haha Julie I love you! You are so funny! If you ever need anyone to watch Angry Kid after school you let me know. I am not that far! I can't believe he is big enough for Kindergarten now...WOW. Time flies!

Kristen
Kristen

We are living parallel lives! I hear ya. My son is totally ready. But I am not . . . so not up for the competition between the parents and all the drama that entails. I have many friends who have gone before me and the stories I hear sound insane. Gah! But I don't have a homeschooling bone in my whole body, so I guess I better suck it up! :)

Mandi
Mandi

I agree, once our KIDS hit school-age, it's the adults who take on the drama, name-calling, nit picking, etc etc. It's horrible. I hope to avoid it by just avoiding all of the other parents LOL

Creative Junkie
Creative Junkie

OMG, he is a cutie! I remember those kindergarten days. They grow up SO DAMN FAST. You're going to blink and *bam* - he's going to be in high school. Sigh.

Kelly W
Kelly W

he looks excited to going to school

Miss Blondie
Miss Blondie

I was so sad when my son went to kindergarten! Now seriously, i don't think they spend enough time in school and he's only in 2nd grade!! LOL

Kasandria
Kasandria

It's hard at first, but then you love it. My only advice is schedules work wonders. BTW he is too cute in his backpack! Kas

trisha
trisha

im not ready for ANY of it..not emotionally, not as a PTA mom, none of it. Make it stop. trisha

Lee-Ann
Lee-Ann

Wow already time for him to go to school. Kaiden starts this fall as well. He still feels so little though!

Heather
Heather

I am smiling and nodding with this entire post! I had the school tour this morning with all the other soon-to-be kindergarden moms. Going back to the HS days of the Queen Bees & Wannabes ~ the adult version! heaven help us!

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

Seriously, it was hard core. I have this huge packet of info.

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

I've heard about people here camping out for preschool. I can't imagine elementary school. Although with the people that I saw in that room, I could totally imagine them camping out.

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

Yes, he can write his name, Legos, and Star Wars, what more can I ask for, LOL!

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

I think we will need to start a support group come the Fall. We can meet once a month and discuss "The Other Orange County Parents" that we are dealing with.

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

I'm not ready either. I'm sure you guys start earlier too. We don't start until September 2nd. We can have a support group to deal with all of this.

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

I know, scary! He will be in real school.

Angry Julie
Angry Julie

Ahhh the Queen Bees....I could barely deal with it, when I was in school.