And, just like that, my seven-year-old entered second grade today.
My regular readers will recall that my wife and I were particularly nervous last year about her beginning first grade because she was one of three “new kids” in a class of thirty. The majority of the children in her class had been in preschool together and already formed relationships.
To be honest, our concerns were almost entirely unwarranted, as the school community, including the children’s families and faculty, proved to be incredibly warm and embracing. Also, our daughter has a high degree of self-confidence, which served her well as a newcomer last year.
Anyway, I mention this because a few of her classmates moved away at the end of first grade, leaving some spaces for new students; and, sure enough, there were two new girls in her second grade class today.
We’d spoken to her in advance about these prospective new students, telling her that she would have the opportunity this year to make a few new friends. I also reminded her that she had been a new student herself last year and could recall the challenges of joining a preexisting group of children.
She expressed her nervousness about beginning second grade, as one would have expected, but when I arrived to pick her up after the first day of school this afternoon, she immediately ran over to me, hugged me with excitement, and began telling me about the new friends she’d made. I actually had to calm her down to get her out of the classroom with all of her belongings.
All of this, of course, is quite wonderful.
I have to say that despite our daughter professing her anxiety about going into second grade, we’ve had completely different feelings surrounding this process than we did last year. Entering first grade meant going to a new school; and, perhaps more significantly, developing the discipline necessary to behave like a schoolchild, rather than a preschooler. Beginning one’s school years is a major event for any child.
Second grade isn’t like that all, really, especially at our child’s school because she has the same teacher and class. It won’t be until next year in third grade that the students get shuffled around into new classes with new teachers. And, of course, we’re already familiar with our school community; returning this year feels much like coming home.
The funny thing is that these feelings of normalcy and comfort are themselves a big deal. Last year, I felt anxious about my daughter’s acclimation to her new school and stage of childhood. This year, I have to get used to the idea that my little girl is no longer quite so little. She very much has come to relate to her school as a familiar, second home; and she’s already looking forward to all of her upcoming classes and school activities.
Tempus fugit cum non spectamus.