Moms Need Kindergarten Too


Moms Need Kindergarten Too | Duluth Moms Blog

To My Daughter’s Kindergarten Teacher and School Staff:

Thank you so much for everything you did to help my daughter learn and grow this past year. As I am sure you have discovered, she is an absolute delight and her love for school has only grown throughout her year in Kindergarten.  

Thank you, also, for all the help you gave me. Unlike my daughter, I was a real project.

It all began well over a year ago, ‘round about Kindergarten Round-Up time. (Ok, that was already 18 months ago?! <sobbing>) I realize now that Kindergarten Round-Up is really more of an efficient way to distribute important information to parents about what to expect and what the school expects of us. All the kids had to do was have fun, eat a snack, and ride the bus.  

I also realize that the Kindergarten year is as much about training us parents as it is about educating our children.

I seriously was (ok, still am) one of those parents that just has no clue whatsoever about school, how it works, and what my role is. I knew where the school was, but that was it. This surprises me as I did really well in school back in the day. Maybe I have forgotten all my “school smarts” as it has been literally decades since I attended a public institution.

Which is probably why, after Kindergarten Round-Up, I promptly forgot everything that was told to us. I was too busy mourning the end of preschool, thinking about summer and avoiding thinking about my little girl going off to Kindergarten.

Which is probably why, when September drew near, I had absolutely no clue as to when the first day of school was or what I should be doing to prepare. Luckily, I received a packet in the mail that included a school supply list and dutifully took my daughter to the store to get her supplies.

But what about all the other mysteries? When does school start and end each day? What was she expected to bring to school? And to NOT bring? And, most importantly, how the heck does drop-off work?

And then it came to me. I had gotten a Kindergarten Handbook at Kindergarten Round-Up. Yes!  The Kindergarten Handbook would tell me everything I needed to know!

The only problem was remembering where I put it.

Seriously, I cannot even tell you how much time I spent looking for the Kindergarten Handbook.  After tearing my house apart, I finally had to admit the awful truth.

I had LOST the Kindergarten Handbook.

After a few more days of looking in the same spots I already looked, I finally decided to come to the school and tell you I lost my Handbook and may I please have another? You were super nice about it but how humiliating.

So finally I knew when school started and what time to get her there. But what about the mysteries of the drop-off? (Now THAT would have been a great topic for Kindergarten Round-Up!)

For the first several weeks, I didn’t even dare enter the drop-off. It just looked like pure chaos to me. I was certain that either my 5 year old or I would get squished in the melee. I found a side street to park on and just walked my daughter to the school entrance. But, as the weather got colder, I realized I was not interested in walking the extra block through ice and snow to get her in the door so one day I got brave and just dove into the drop-off. And you know what? It really isn’t that big of a deal. I learned if you keep your eyes open and wits about you, and be patient and courteous with a healthy dose of Minnesota Nice, everything works out just great.

Though I seem to have mastered the drop-off, there are other areas of school that I am still struggling with. Like checking her daily and Friday folders. This typically happens as we are walking out the door the following school day. Not the best time to find out a project or a worksheet needs to be done for that day’s lesson. I might need some remedial work in this area.

I also have a hard time remembering to call in her absences at the beginning of the school day.  I am usually too busy taking care of her (or myself). I was really embarrassed the day I forgot to call the after-school program until well after school was done. Seeing as how the staff needs to go through some extra steps to figure out why she isn’t in line for the bus, I got the feeling they weren’t too happy with me when I finally called in. Oops. The $15 charge for my oversight stung a bit too. Bet I won’t forget again!

Perhaps the biggest challenge of Kindergarten for me was simply getting out the door on time and with a healthy blood pressure each morning. After 5 years of really never needing to be anywhere on time, this was and continues to be a huge adjustment for me. I don’t want to go into the details. Let’s just say I am glad its summer.

The importance of getting her to school on time really hit home during our first parent-teacher conference. Among the many glowing items on your report, there was also noted a list of tardies and absences. I guess I can understand why its important to teach kids to be on time but seriously. It’s Kindergarten. Given the fact that I am responsible for getting her there, maybe the tardies should be on my record.

And what is with this “early release” every Wednesday? I mean, I understand why you have early release but do you have any idea how hard it is for us parents to keep this straight?! Honestly, even on the second to last day of school I arranged my day without remembering it was early release! Argggghhhhhh!

I have one request. Could I possibly get a tour or a map of the school? I still have not figured out where anything is. I don’t dare wander around the school when I am there as I don’t want to get into trouble. At the same time, when I arrive for a program, the staff will say “Just go to the music room” or “head out the door by the gym.” But I don’t know where these places are!  <sigh> Maybe I will figure it out next year.

So, to sum it all up, I am thrilled my daughter did so well in Kindergarten. Thanks again for all you did for her and I am confident she is ready for first grade. 

I know I asked you a lot of questions this year. Thank you for being patient with me. I promise I will do better next year. But I do have just one more question. 

Did I pass?

Moms Need Kindergarten Too | Duluth Moms Blog

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Sarah VanderMeiden
A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Sarah is a dyed-in-her-wool-socks Minnesotan whose life-long love of woods and water drew her to move to Duluth 23 years ago this November. An avid hiker, she loves to explore all locales on Lake Superior’s shore, snowshoe frozen North Shore rivers and go for walks in Duluth’s Lester Park. Working in Higher Education for over 20 years, Sarah’s greatest joy was to talk with students about how to navigate the challenges of college, what they wanted to do with their lives and how to make their dreams come true. After stepping out of this career to be a stay-at-home-mom, Sarah has returned to her passion of helping people achieve their personal and professional goals as a Board Certified Coach. To find out more about coaching and her background, visit or find her on Facebook at Sarah VanderMeiden Coaching . Sarah’s family lives in the country and share their five acres with a small flock of laying hens, deer, wild turkey, way too many mice and 10,000 honeybees. Sarah has given up gardening and keeping her house clean to pursue her many interests including enjoying the lake, singing, photography and spending time with her family camping in their vintage travel trailer or tickling each other on the couch.