An exciting first day of classes for some

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Saw lots of First Day of Class pictures on social media Monday as children returned to class after summer break.

I had the good fortune to spend some time Monday morning in the kindergarten classrooms of Laura Grinstead and Amanda Frazier at Stories Creek Elementary.

Person County staggers the start of kindergarten for students, so only a handful come to class each day for the first few days.

That gives teachers a chance to work with the children a little more closely and get to know them just a little bit. The first day of full kindergarten happens next Tuesday, following the Labor Day holiday.

Kindergarten classrooms are a great place to spend the first day of school. Children display the full range of emotions when they walk into the classroom. Many are excited. Some of nervous. Some simply want no part of being left behind by Mom and Dad.

Eventually, of course, they all get used to the classroom and they find their niche in the group. But that first day is remarkable really.

I was impressed with the number of first-grade students who stopped off in Grinstead’s and Frazier’s classroom to hug their kindergarten teacher before heading off to their own classroom. One of them remarked that it happens frequently on the first day of school and for a while after that, but that soon the students move beyond it and get on with their first-grade lives.

“Yeah,” I said, “but everybody always remembers their kindergarten teacher.”

That’s true, I think. By my math, I walked into a kindergarten classroom for the first time 48 years ago and, though I don’t recall what my reaction was life, I do remember Mrs. Cooper. She was friendly and smiled a lot. She could also be pretty stern when I didn’t lay down quietly at nap time, which was the case more often than not, I’m afraid.

On Monday at Stories Creek, I was also impressed with the visual stimulation you get in a kindergarten classroom. The walls were covered with words and art intended to help the students learn the basic rules of classroom life. Labels were attached to everything from the desks to the bookshelves. Classroom rules hung on the wall just inside the doorways.

There was so much to look at, I suspect the students will have something to keep their attention for weeks before it starts to become white noise. By then, I suspect, the teachers will be changing the decorations in the classrooms to give the students even more to see.

Those kindergarten students have no real idea, at this point, what they are in for over the next 13 years, taking tests and exams, completing projects, reading books and trying to figure out higher math. For them, right now, it’s all about the excitement of something new. There was plenty of excitement in the classrooms I visited on Monday. I hope school will remain an exciting proposition for those children for a long time to come. Their kindergarten experiences will go a long, long way toward shaping their view of school for the next few years, at least.

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