Every year we write a letter to our Kindergarten children, reflecting on the past year and the connections we formed. We were inspired by Robert Fulghum’s poem “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” So with thanks to him, here is our letter for 2017. Please note: This post has been slightly modified from the original our students received.
To our Dear Kindergarten Children,
There’s a wonderful poem called “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. It’s a beautiful poem, and talks about important things such as sharing with others, cleaning up after yourself and washing your hands before you eat. These are important life lessons and when people think back about what they learned in Kindergarten, these are the kinds of things they remember learning and doing. They are lessons that stay with us always.
But we’ve been teachers for quite a long time now, and many of those years has been as Kindergarten teachers. So what we might say is that All We Really Need to Know We Learned from You, Our Kindergarten Students.
We learned about patience, one block at a time. This was a year for Master Builders. You’re one of the most amazing groups of children we’ve taught who not only love to build, but do it very well. You understand about creating a sound foundation to build a strong structure. Whether you were using Keva planks, Lego, sticky bricks or soft blocks you were meticulous in taking your time to create and re-create the ideas in your head.
We learned about sharing and the many forms that it took in our class. You took turns to share the Smelly Markers and the most popular treasure boxes. You waited calmly for your chance to use a sand tray. You also liked to share your ideas during class discussions. And you loved bringing a Sharing to show the class on your Special Helper Day. We thought you really grew in your ability to share with others, we know it’s not easy. But one of your greatest strengths is your willingness to please, so we know that between your self-regulation and your tenacity, you were always able to do the right thing.
We learned about acceptance and empathy as you were getting to know all the children in Kindergarten, your brother and sister’s friends and your Grade 7 Buddies regardless of gender or language. We loved how you used the language of social play as your common language whether you were making books at the Imagination Station, walking the forest creek or running races down the grassy hill.
We learned about love and affection as we watched you and your Big Buddies this year. The attachment you and your Buddy have for each other is strong. Your eyes are always searching for one another in the big group. There is devotion in the way you look at each other. We see how hard you work together to accomplish a task. You’re learning valuable lessons in getting along with others and building a relationship. We’ve never had a class who always remembers Wednesday is Buddy Day and you looked so forward to seeing them.
We learned about courage and risk-taking when you discovered all that the playground had to offer you. From the fireman’s pole to the tire swing to the monkey bars…you never failed to show your courage and resolve to conquer these activities. We know this for sure because you’ve got the callouses to prove it! When the swings were flying high or you were reaching for that next ring, you were confident in your abilities and willing to take the risks to achieve your goal.
We learned about friendship by the way you supported each other. Whenever a classmate was feeling poorly, or had been hurt, you were always there ready to hold your friend’s hand and walk him or her to the office or to the classroom. You seemed to know when another student was feeling sad or lonely; and you tried to engage your friend by inviting him to play or making her laugh. You show a level of empathy that is very grown-up for your age.
We learned about perseverance and grit as you practised over and over again, the careful printing of your name. This was a significant year for printing your names. Some of you had not printed your name in full before but you were so determined to master this important skill. For those of you who were already printing your names, you’ve been working on using upper and lowercase letters perfectly. We’ve watched you develop precision in your printing, and we can say with confidence that many of you print as well as us and sometimes, even better.
We learned about finding joy in the little things. Glitter, sparkle mod podge, playdough, printmaking with an acorn squash, a Hello Kitty colouring sheet and eating cupcakes were just a few of those little things that made you say, “Oooohhh.” We loved how excited you were to work on a new alphabet craft, or the wonder on your faces when you saw our decorated Christmas tree. Who knew there was so much happiness to be found in a small container of turquoise sparkles?
Each September we receive a new class of children; some of us already know each other, while others are new friends. Each year we wonder how we will bond together as teacher and students. And we thought that this year was very special, our heartfelt connection with each of you and between all of you. You started off your Kindergarten year as young children from different places, to become classmates and friends held together by shared learning, experiences and fun.
Your next step is Grade One. There is excitement and uncertainty, looking ahead yet taking one more glance back. We’re going to miss you so much, but we know it is time for you to move on to Grade One.
We’ve had many great teachers in our lives, but none so great as you. Our wish for you is that your love for learning and literacy remain with you always, and that you continue to find joy in all the little things. We know we will. You have taught us well.
Your Kindergarten Teachers