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07 August 2013

Getting Ready for Pre-K {If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Style}

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program {you know, the Summer in SLO series that I still haven't wrapped up} to bring you this special report on Olivia's first week of Pre-K!

We have been busy little beavers since we returned from California {see also: why I haven't finished writing about our trip} even though we really haven't been out and about much on playdates or fun little excursions.  Unless you count Target and Ikea as fun excursions {and I totally do}.  We got home a week ago Tuesday and by that point Olivia had already missed a week of school.  I decided to keep her home on Wednesday and then take her in for the last part of the day on Thursday to meet her teacher {again} and introduce herself to her eleven new classmates.

I'm so glad that we went in on Thursday to introduce her to everyone.  Not only did it help her feel a little more comfortable with going to school again, but we were able to pick up the stack of papers that she needed to make up before going back on Monday.

Let me just say that her class/teacher/routine is so different from Ms. Susan's preschool class.  There she went two days a week in the afternoons {ahem, we are not morning people}.  Ms. Susan was very soft spoken and grandmotherly and for most of the year she only had 5 or 6 classmates.  Now she is going Monday through Thursday for 4 hours a day, including lunch.  Her new teacher seems very nice, but man oh man, is she organized and on top of things!  They have their own folders that go back and forth from home and school every day.  {Last year, I forgot her backpack at least once a month.}  Olivia has homework that will go home every Monday and is due back on Thursday.  The work is optional, but she gets a sticker in her sticker book every time she turns it in, so I know we will be doing it each week.   In Ms. Susan's class, the parents would just come in at the end of the day and pick the students up.  Now, all the parents line up and go in one at a time.  Last year, there was only one or two afternoon classes, but there are at least 6 morning classes, so it is very crowded in the little school at drop off and pick up.  {I'm not even going to get into how hectic it is taking Sydney with me...}

I knew that if we were going to be successful at Pre-K {ohmygosh, how crazy do I sound right now?} that some things needed to change.  We needed to get ourselves organized.  Maybe I should say more organized, because it's not like we are super slobs or anything.  Don't get me wrong, our house gets messy quickly and easily and it doesn't always get put back together at night, but we don't look like we need to be in the next episode of Hoarders or anything.  But, I did want to make some changes to make this school year go as smoothly as possible.

I started out by rearranging Olivia's room.  {And, when I say I, I really mean my parents and I -- they have been so helpful this last week since my partner in crime is out of town on business.} I ripped the black out shades from her windows -- it has always driven me crazy that her room gets no natural light, but like I said, we are not morning people -- because now it doesn't matter if she gets up before 8. And then I decided to take the little desk/play table that had been out in the family room and put it in her room so she could have a place all of her own to do her work.  She loves the new setup and so do I.

➹ I hate those brown shades with a passion. ➹

➹ It's Valentine's Day year round in Liv's room. ➹

And, now that she has the new little space in her room, my mom thought it would be the perfect time to introduce some quiet boxes for her.  My mom saw the idea on Pinterest and I was not going to complain about Olivia having a little bit of quiet time in her room while Sydney napped.  {Thirty minutes of time to myself in the middle of the day? Sign me up, please!}  So, I got some cute little plastic bins from Target and my mom and I brainstormed some ideas for things to put in the boxes to keep her busy.  I'm going to have to devote an entire post just to the quiet boxes, but I will just say that we are three days into it and she is loving it.

➹ I slept in her bed the night before her first day of school and when she woke up she said, "I can't believe I get my own Quiet Box today!" ➹

Back to organizing our house -- remembering to take a lunch box, water bottle, backpack and folder to school every day and getting out the door by 8:50 each morning was going to be tough, so I wanted to have a place where most of those things could be stationed.  I got a little mail/key holder from Target and my dad hung it up for us by the door to the garage.  We keep her take home folder and backpack there and pick it up on the way out each morning.  {I also organized our pantry and put all of her pantry lunch items in one area -- lunch bags, ziplocks, reusable baggies, snack containers, crackers, squeezers, etc. so that they are easy to grab if I'm in a hurry.}  I'm trying to pack some things at night after the girls go to bed...I bag up fruits and veggies and leave them in the fridge.  We will see how long that lasts. ;)

We worked really hard over the weekend to get her caught up on what she missed.  There was one week's worth of homework {three sheets}, but there were things that they had done in class that needed to be completed because they were either benchmark items or things that were going to be hung up in the classroom.  By Sunday night, she had all of her work done, her take home folder and backpack hanging and ready for her, and her clothes for the first day {red week} laid out and ready to go.

Thankfully, my mom came over before we left so she could hold Sydney so I could snap a few pictures of Olivia outside the school.  I wish I had taken a picture of her with the teacher, but I didn't want to make too big of a fuss.  She did great when I dropped her off and she was as happy as could be when I went to get her.  She said she loved her new class and her teacher.

➹ First day of preschool last year. ➹

 I really do think she is going to thrive in this class.  She loves to learn...she's asking questions all the time about how things are made and how they work.  She is always wanting to play school and she loves sitting at her little desk. She came home with an Itsy Bitsy book about the color red and she has read it to me at least 15 times already.  We've tried to do a little bit of homework each night and I'm just so thankful for my retired kindergarten teacher mother!  Liv is getting super bored already of tracing/writing her name 20 times {what is this, catholic school?} and my mom is really good about helping her form the letters correctly and encouraging her to keep going.

➹ Olivia the Big Red Dog ➹

So, as of tomorrow, she will have completed her first week of Pre-K.  Hooray! But really, it sort of feels like we have all completed it.  It has been a group effort by everyone around here {trust me, I know how crazy I sound right now}.  As much as I'm going to miss her, I'm really, really looking forward to having a few hours of each day to spend with just Sydney.  I've signed us up for a music class starting next month and my mom is going to do a story time class with her once a week too.  Wonder how much more organized we'll have to get for those?!

1 comment:

Mom Cooper said...

I really like Olivia's room this way. She is growing up right before our eyes. I'm so glad she enjoys the "quiet time boxes". I enjoyed making the little books to go in them. I love being able to help her with her home work. I guess the teacher in me is always there.