Wednesday, January 14, 2015

That Kindergarten Magic

To be honest, going to Open Library on Tuesday night wasn't even on my radar. Tuesdays are busy with dance (and our weekly coffee date), dinner, and bedtime.  We couldn't possibly squeeze in Open Library at school...could we?

My wife (and I, if I am honest) had a bit of a panic attack when a nice little form letter came home with our kindergarten daughter. Apparently, she is now enrolled in Scholastic Reading Counts and is required to score 3 points the rest of this year. Three points?!? My kindergartner?!? What?!? It's not that we despise reading. Quite the opposite. We read all the time and take the little one to the public library whenever we can.  But...testing on it? So early?

The irony is not lost on me here. Included in my job is being our school's administrator for Accelerated Reader. I have had my share of getting kids started on the road of test-read-test, including a handful of kindergartners who prove themselves able.

I know enough about AR to realize I can transfer that knowledge to SRC, or so I thought.  Still, my wife was not convinced. She wanted to see the thing in action.  So, we traipsed from dance/coffee to Wendy's for a quickie dinner, then to the school for the monthly Open Library armed with her copy of Mr. Brown can Moo! Can You?. We were one of about 20 families gathered in the library for reading and testing with teachers and administrators milling about with smiles on their faces, helping and encouraging where and when they could.
My daughter had a totally different perspective.  She loves to read, and she has been coming into her own this school year.  No longer does she rely on her parents or her imagination to tell her what's written on the page.  She reads ALL. THE. TIME. and we can often hear her sounding out words that my brain has learned to ignore years ago. (Who reads logos on signs anymore?) It is really is a beautiful thing.

What we saw as an inconvenience she saw as an opportunity.  She was so excited she woke up at 4:00 Tuesday morning.  Yes, I said 4:00 am. She took us in the front door and tried to show us everything in the school.  "Here is the music room, and the gym is down there."  We went into the library and she aced her test! Then we sat and read for a little while.  But she couldn't contain her excitement for long.  "I want to show you the computer lab!" It wasn't enough to glance into the room...she had to show me HER COMPUTER. A quick loop took us past her classroom.

The next morning at breakfast...."Daddy, I didn't get to show you the art room, but it's near the music room.  You just..."
That's when it hit me.  She has that Kindergarten Magic. Everything is new. Everything is fresh. Everything is exciting. New opportunities are being opened up every day.  She loves school and everything about it.

Now, how do we keep that magic alive for 12 more years?

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