Tomorrow, Nate starts kindergarten. Kindergarten. Nate will be in a contained autism classroom. He will be the sole kindergarten student and will be joined by two first graders and two second graders. We already know Nate’s classmates, as they overlapped with him while in Ms. Susie’s pre-school program. But Nate’s classroom will be at a new school as our town only has one K-2 autism program for the entire district. Nate will also be assigned to a neurotypical kindergarten room, which he will join for art, music, library (I cannot bring myself to calling it “Media”), and lunch.
Seeing as he will be the only kindergarten student in the class, we asked friends to give Nate advice on how to be the best kindergarten student possible. So here’s the sage words that Nate is pondering as he prepares to enter kindergarten!
“First of all, be a good sport. That means, like, play by the rules and have fun. Make lots of friends. Don’t wiggle during the Pledge of Allegiance and don’t leave a sandwich in your backpack for a really long time, like two weeks.” — Kainoa, age 8
“Have fun.” — Thatcher, age 7.5 (and the “.5” is very important)
“Hopefully you get to be Dolphin of the Day and help the teacher.” — Blake, age 6 (Blakey lives in California. I wonder what the Connecticut equivalent of Dolphin of the Day is…Whistlepig of the Day?)
“Stay calm, have fun, make new friends, and, best of all, if someone tries to be mean to you, like if they say, ‘Your backpack is like a pre-kers,’ then say, ‘Thank you, I like it that way.'” — Colin, age 9
“Imagine it’s a whole new world so there are lots of things to explore.” — Nora, age 6
“To be the best kindergartener, you have to listen to your teachers really good. Follow the rules and be good.” — Aubre, age 6
“In order to do great in kindergarten: 1) Just do what the teacher asks, because if it is something you seriously hate you are going to have to do it anyway. Unless it is something you can’t do, then you have to tell the teacher in a polite way that ‘I can’t do this, maybe you can help me a bit?’ Because you are still going to have to do it NO MATTER WHAT. 2) You should practice writing and reading early, so that way you know how to do it when you get older. 3) Don’t forget that kindergarten is always fun. And as I always say Rule #2 ALWAYS HAVE FUN!!! (After Rule #1 which is Safety First.) 4) Something I think you might enjoy Nate is learning how to read. You can read about adventures and science and all your favorite bedtime stories, as well.” – Peter, age 10. (Peter is on the autism spectrum, like Nate, and has been a wonderful role model to our little guy as he grows and matures. Peter has a dynamic personality, is a medaling Special Olympics skier, and has even won a national Lego contest!)
“Don’t forget your backpack! You are going to have a lot of fun there!” — Marissa, age 8
“It depends on your teacher. If you like your teacher, you will have a good year. I liked the end of the day when I got to play with blocks and other toys. We also did a lot of arts and crafts with an art teacher so I hope you have an art teacher. The kids in the class all become friends because enemies don’t start until second grade.” — Tess, age 8 (It should be noted that Tess is entering third grade….we wish only friends for you, Tess!!!)
“You shouldn’t be scared because you don’t have to be. Listen to your teacher and learn good things.”– Zoe, age 8
Zoe’s sister, Hannah (age 5), who is also starting kindergarten, said, “Tell Nate not to be scared because learning is important.” Hannah’s mom is still trying to figure out where this sage advice came from. Hold it over her head, Jamie!!!
With advice like this, Nate’s ready for the big day! I’ve also made him a very special t-shirt and have packed a bag of comfort items in case the world seems too big. Check our Facebook page tomorrow morning to see if Nate allowed me to take an obligatory First Day of Kindergarten photo!!!