First grade. In some ways my students are ready. They are older and more mature. They are much more social and interested in each other's business. However, in other ways, I don't know if they'll ever be ready. First grade means having a desk. it means getting more independent work done and setting personal reading goals. First grade means more tests and more pressure. Even though our first grade teachers are great, these students are still children- small children.
Honestly, I pity them a little, because I've been through it all. I've moved up the ranks of every grade, I've sat quietly for years in school, and quite frankly, kindergarten is the best place to be. (Or, as one of my students told me just the other day, the SECOND best grade, because in pre-k you play ALL day).
So, every year I send them on to first grade, to a world of higher learning. I hope they make it without our blocks and animals and paint brushes. And I wonder to myself about a few of them, "Will today be the last day they ever build a castle out of blocks?"
Then, quite frankly, I breathe a huge sigh a relief. Selfishly speaking, I'm relieved that I don't have to go with them, that next year I will still have my light tables and water play and baby dolls.