One Giant Leap: Moving up to Elementary, From One Parent to Another

Elementary Lesson

Congratulations! Your primary kid is moving up! Sooooo exciting. It’s gonna be great. Yep, it is.


For those of you who have a child moving from primary to elementary, I have some words for you.

“Give it time”.

That’s it.

Because time is what it’s going to take for your precocious kindergarten age child to become a functioning elementary student. And the learning curve is steep. For you and your child.

First thing, there is the regression. Sure, they’re the top of the heap now. Big fish in a small pond. EXTENDED DAY!! So mature, capable, responsible. And then they start to get the idea that elementary puts them at the bottom of the food chain again. Itty bitty fish. And they get nervous. Maybe they don’t want to be a big kid so much anymore, and maybe it would be better to go back to being a toddler. Or not quite a toddler, because diapers, but you know.  

And so the baby talk comes out. Melt downs about things that you thought were long past. Clinging to mom or dad at drop off. Toileting accidents. All that stuff that we parents just love. Never fear. It’s only growing pains. And it’s just begun.

Give it time.

Our elementary program really brings out the best in the students who attend. They become so independent, accountable, able to do so many things that children of that age are rarely expected to do. Parents and staff are so proud and impressed. And outsiders are astonished. But this doesn’t happen all by itself. And it takes some gumption.

The first few weeks and even months of Ms. Lynn’s elementary can really be a shock to the system of any 6 year old. Not only are there 25 older students who have already figured this out, but there is a system in place that is not the comfort zone that primary was after 3 years.

Elementary is the world of real consequences. Forget your water bottle? No playground time today. Out of uniform? Someone will help you find something appropriate to wear. Talk back to the teacher? <<crickets>>

Nearly all of the elementary students have experienced the dreaded “assigned seat” at one time or another. This is the consequence for all sorts of transgressions. And it’s a lonely spot to be. While the others can move around and choose work mates each day, the assigned seater is solitary. And in the line of sight of the teacher at all times. Some students are regular tenants. Others manage to get things under control from the start. Because self-control is the name of the game. And it is something that they learn from their mistakes.

I’m not trying to scare you. Really, I’m not. Ok, maybe just a little bit. But it’s going to be hard on you, mom and dad. DON’T drive back home for that water bottle! DON’T zip back with the indoor shoes or the literature circle book. You get to sit back and watch your child grow up. Sometimes there are tears, fear, anger. But there is pride and achievement, too. And these are the greatest rewards there are. The ones that come from inside.

But if you give it time, you’ll see where they go from here. And it IS going to be great.

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