Kindergarten Prep: Are You Ready? We're not.
So we're pretty excited about kindergarten in our house. Even my son. We've played at its playground, showed Grandma the 'grounds,' and swung by the nearby coffee shop so we parents can picture fall mornings. So we're ready, right? Uh, not so fast. What time does school actually start? End? Any forms to fill out? And the vaccine thing - when is that info due, and can you get an exemption already, if you just can't hang? And the bus! Do kindergartners take the bus? Do I have to make lunch or is that just an option?
The more I ponder this the less prepared I feel! Turns out there's more prep than finding some pants that aren't floods to start off on the right foot. PPS's kindergarten web site has most of what you need to know all in one place, and if you can't get the skinny there, schools are open, staff are there, so ring 'em up and ask.
Also, one key thing we were glad to know for planning is that kindergartners often start school a week after the 'big kids,' so get out yer calendar and figure out who's gonna be hanging out with whom the week prior. We planned the family trip around that child care-less week. One final getaway before the school calendar rules our lives. And don't forget to check out the uM schools forum to meet other parents at your school, get your questions answered, or share your opinions.
Here's my novice plan:
- Confirm start date, schools vary.
- Learn bell times - they haven't changed 2006-07, so don't worry if the info sheet doesn't say 2008-09.
- Submit completed vaccine info prior to school; you can drop them off at the school prior to the start date. Most schools are open now, but you might want to call to confirm - there's a school list here.
- Sign up for after care if you need it. Check out the uM schools forum for after-care info.
- Figure out lunch. Make it, buy it, apply for free/reduced cost? Yikes. Visit the Nutrition Services site here - you can even see a menu. Plus, there's an 08-09 update on efforts to serve more local, nutritious foods. Progress!
- Figure out how you're gonna get there (who gets bus service? what's the schedule?)
- And for the really curious among us, watch a classroom highlights video to see kindergarten in action!
Even though this list looks l-o-n-g, I am surely missing something - but what? What's on your list? if you've already been to this tea party (as my Dad would say), got any words of wisdom for a newbie mama?