First Day of School

From time to time, I’ve bragged on Josh’s school.  I try not to, because I don’t want to be one of those moms… “Oh, OUR school is the best!  Oh, MY kid is tops!”   But sometimes, you have to toot your horn.  This is one of those times.  I really believe that if all schools operated this way, we’d have a lot fewer problems with the educational system in this country.

We celebrate the first day of school.  We don’t just send our kids off on that first day and think “whew, that’s done, now I can get on with my day.”  We meet them there and give them a sendoff, reinforcing to each and every kid that we are a family – kids, teachers, principal, parents.  We’re all in this together, kids… so go and do good!

The day starts outside the school… everyone – students, teachers, and parents – is gathered at the doors:

Our enthusiastic music teacher welcomes the kids to school, tells them that it’s going to be a wonderful year, and selects the groups by class to enter the school… “Kindergartners!!” she’ll holler.  Everyone cheers as she rings her bells, and the Kindergartners enter the school amid the bedlam.  This goes on through grade 7.  The eight graders get a bit of a pause, and a little extra recognition, being the Big Guys of the school… but then they get the bell-ringing and cheering, too…

Once the kids are in their classrooms, the parents head to the gym.  I took pictures of the “Welcome Hallway” that the kids will travel on their way to the celebration:

While we wait for the kids, parents get acquainted, have a cup of coffee or a muffin (homemade.  Yum).  Soon enough, we are asked to sit…

…And the kids do, too.  Yep, this is the ENTIRE Student Body – Kindergarten through 8th Grade.  There are about 130 kids in the school…

The prayer service begins.  The choir leads songs…

Father leads a prayer… The teachers pledge to do their best for the kids (the kids have already pledged to do their best to learn)…

And then the best thing of all happens.

After all the singing, praying, and speechifying (all this has taken maybe a half hour), the parents leave the gym, while the kids remain seated.  Us parents have one more Rah-Rah up our sleeves.

The Arch.

Yep, we make the kids (and the teachers) “run the gauntlet”… We stand on either side of the hallway leading away from the gym, and make an arch out of our joined hands.  As the kids come out of the gym and head to their classrooms, there’s a lot of cheering and hooting and high-fiving and carrying on by the parents, as we cheer our kids on to another year of school.  And even the most jaded of the “old kids” love it.

We truly are a family at this school.  We love the kids – not just our own, all of them.  I truly believe that each parent sees each kid as his or her “own”.  We also believe that doing silliness like this not only makes for students who look forward to going to school, but makes for an atmosphere where the kids know they can come to any one of us, at any time, for anything.

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10 Responses to First Day of School

  1. SKL says:

    I think that’s really nice. I went to a Lutheran school that wasn’t much bigger than Josh’s school, but I don’t remember it being all that community oriented. In a way, it was “family” in that most of the kids also attended the church and we socialized to some degree or other (mostly at church) with many of the families. But as far as feeling like the parents and teachers were on the same team – not so much. Even most of the room mothers didn’t feel like “family.” (Although, it coulda been on our side. My mom was one of very few mothers who worked in those days. And we were barely working class and had more kids than any other church family. Maybe they had “community” stuff that my mom opted out of – though I don’t remember any.)

    When I was a kid, school was cool for about a week, and then it was a drag for the rest of the year. I mean, I liked learning and some of my classes/teachers, but I didn’t feel like going to school in the morning. Nor did any of my siblings while we were in that school. It just wasn’t an inviting environment. We did learn a lot, so I am not sorry we attended there.

    I will keep all of this in mind for when my kids start “real school.” Even if the school doesn’t organize something like this, I can do something at a family level to keep the spark alive, I hope.

  2. Ellen says:

    This must be such a great experience, to have your child go to a school like this! I am very happy for you.

  3. Karen Joy says:

    That is so awesome!I love that.Great way to start the year off.

  4. Sue says:

    That’s really great what you guys do! How can kids not be excited to go back to that?! School doesn’t start here until Sept 7, but mine are excited to go. We have a small school also (although not as small as you) so something like this would be doable. Grandparents day is one of the big deals at our school and it’s nice to have the kids share what they’re doing with others. I worked last night and then stayed up too late reading a great book Joy borrowed me so I’m not with it yet this morning! Sorry if it seems my thoughts are jumbled!

    • Joy says:

      I think a lot of kids are ready and excited to go back to school but they don’t want to admit they want to go back. Neither of my boys would fess up to it but you can tell they were excited.

  5. Joy says:

    I think this is so awesome. What a great way for these kids to start out the year. When adults get excited for something it makes the kids excited too. I wish more people would take the time out of their busy lives to spend more time at school with their kids. They might not admit it but kids do like it when you spend time with them at school. Even just going in for lunch. When Trinity asks me to go to lunch with her you can see the excitement in her face when I tell her I will.

    I think this could work no matter how big your school is. It’s about making the effort. I just love this idea and how cool that you get to take part in it.

    Just out of curiosity, how many kids are in the school and how many parents join them on this day to do this?

    • Laura says:

      The student body is around 130… we had maybe 50-ish parents there? Maybe a little more. It’s a pretty decent turnout, considering that it’s a work-day, and it cuts into work time (we finished about 9:45)

  6. Joy says:

    I forgot to mention that I LOVE that teacher with those bell things. They remind me of those maraca thingys.

  7. Nikki says:

    How exciting! I love seeing schools involved in not just academics, but making it enjoyable and fun! More schools, teachers need to go out of their way to make school fun. I’m glad Josh had such a great first day, that’s all you can hope for! I hope he has a great year!

    Bailey is excited, he has the same teacher. He moved up to 5th grade. Bitter sweet for me, last year of him in this school. I LOVE his principle! He plays with them, jump ropes, plays ball with them. The principle in the middle school is an older lady that is no fun.

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