The students are back and I made it to school each day this week without wearing my slippers, so I’m off to a good start.
My speech groups haven’t begun yet, but I had a chance to read a story to some kindergarteners. It was fun meeting new students and introducing them to Happy School Year!, by Susan Milord, illustrated by Mary Newell DePalma.
This book describes children from all over town, getting ready for their first day of school. Some “yawn and stretch and squint through half-opened eyes” and one “burrows under the covers, hiding until the last possible minute.” Some are nervous, holding back tears, others rush to join friends, and one child thinks about running away. I know our students can relate; I saw a few children clinging to parents and shedding tears before the first bell rang.
The kids were captivated by the bright illustrations in this book and wanted to hop off their carpet squares to touch the pictures. Five-year-olds can be squirmy when they are new to the school environment but they grew attentive when I came to the line, “Today is the first day of school.” Their fidgeting stopped and they leaned in, wanting to catch every word. And the words were ones they could understand, like when the principal in the story spoke,
“A new school year is a great adventure,” she says, “and like all great adventures, it can sometimes be a little scary.”
Then she lit a candle on a cupcake and had the kids make a wish for the year. It was a lovely celebration and sounded like a terrific idea, so we had our own mini celebration. Our cake wasn’t as tasty as the one in the story but the wishes were delicious. One child wished to learn to read, another to learn his numbers, and one child wished to become a mermaid! Each child placed his or her “wishing sticker” on our cake. Take a look:
I have one last quote from the story that is too good to leave out (and it reflects my own sentiments),
“May this be the best ever,
Happy school year for us!”