Tag Archive: kindergarten

Graduating Seniors Return to Their Kindergarten Classrooms

Reminiscing about the past isn’t just a way to pass the time; it’s an important way to understand its connection to your present.

When I decided to undertake Reschool Yourself, I was struck by how people found it odd that I’d return to my beginnings in a structured way. I thought it was odd that they wouldn’t, and that there wasn’t a rite of passage involving a pilgrimage back to the place you started from — especially to school, where you spent so many of your young waking hours.

I was pleased to see that one high school, featured in a NY Times article, has been holding such a rite of passage for about 10 years.

At Trinity, one of Manhattan’s oldest independent schools, a roomful of graduating seniors and their childhood teachers unearthed these pieces of the past at the annual survivors breakfast, a rite of passage for seniors who received all 13 years of their formal education at Trinity. Over coffee and bagels and chocolate Jell-O pudding doused with crushed Oreos and gummy worms (a class of 2010 culinary tradition), the students reconnected with teachers and dished about who, at age 5 , ate Play-Doh, sang well and cried whenever his mom left the room. …

… The breakfast was the brainchild of Tom Roberts, a fourth-grade teacher. About 10 years ago, he noticed that the graduating class seemed sentimental. They made frequent treks to visit their teachers and talked about how much they missed their early years. He thought it would be nice for students who spent all their school years at Trinity to return to where they started — on the day they graduated. Trinity’s kindergarten classrooms are directly above the Great Hall, where the graduating seniors put on their robes and line up for their class photo.

What a beautiful way to send graduates on to the next phase of their lives: by reconnecting them with the people and places that helped shape them into who they are today.

Hot lunch!

For the first few days at school, I got to know the teachers at my elementary school by eating lunch with them in the teacher’s lounge. They’re a fun bunch of people who exchange stories about their students and their lives, and they welcomed me right away. As I’ve mentioned, a handful of them were teaching at the school when I was a student, but none actually taught me. (My teachers still live locally, however, so I’m in the process of getting in touch.)

When I moved on from kindergarten to first grade, I missed the kindergarteners and thought it would be fun to start eating lunch with them in the cafeteria. I also thought it would be only fitting for me to buy “hot lunch.” When I was a student, the only day I’d buy hot lunch every week was Friday: Pizza Day. It just so happens that Friday is still Pizza Day, so I paid my $3.50 for an adult lunch and stepped up to the lunch line.

The crates of milk were just inside the door as they always have been, but as I mentioned, chocolate milk is now available every day instead of just on Wednesdays. As you can see in the photo, the chocolate:regular milk ratio is 2:1, and I’m  surprised that any kid would choose regular. I certainly went for the chocolate myself, though an ill-advised sneak at the label revealed that it contained corn syrup. Dedicated to “method lunching,” I decided to drink it anyway.


A Colorful Cast of Young Characters

Turns out that my hand is twice the size of a first grader's.

Turns out that my hand is twice the size of a first grader's.

It’s been one week since I kicked off the classroom phase of Reschool Yourself, and I have so much to share. The challenge lies, as always, in time. I’ve been busy adding features to the site and will post more writing this weekend.

As I mentioned in the video log, I finished up in the kindergarten on Monday morning and began rotating through the five first grade classrooms. I prefer staying in one class, to build relationships with the kids, but the first grade teachers each needed my help. There are a few benefits of rotating, such as observing different teaching styles for the same age group, getting to know all the teachers — they’re a cool bunch of women — and meeting a variety of kids.

I do miss my kindergarteners! Since I was part of their very first school experience, they seemed to get as attached to me as I did to them. On Friday, due to another meeting, I came late to school (no, I didn’t need a pink tardy slip). When I walked into the kindergarten, several kids bombarded me with hugs around my waist and exclamations like “Where were you?” and “You’re heeere!” With those long eyelashes and baby-toothed grins, those kids turn me into putty in their hands.


Video Log: Kindergarten, Day 3

I’ve decided that video blogging is a great way to keep you updated about Reschool Yourself. It’ll save me hours of writing, as well.

Those of you who know me can tell that I haven’t slept much lately. Those who do not may think that I normally look like this, but I’d like to think I’m slightly less haggard when rested. I hope that as I learn to manage my time and take care of myself, you’ll see me looking healthier and more balanced.

Here’s an update filmed the morning of Day 3:

Here’s a preview of the keepsake-mining and classmate search that I’ll begin this weekend: