“Daddy, will you take me to my first day of school?”
Hard to imagine a question that would make me melt much more. As fathers, we sometimes miss out on some of the special moments in our children’s lives. I was at a conference when my daughter took her first step, at work when she lost her first tooth and wasn’t there that time she got her head stuck in the cat scratching post. So, when my daughter asked if I could take her to her first day of Kindergarten last week, I was thrilled.
The first day of school is one of those moments in your child’s life that you know as a parent you will remember for a lifetime. It is a moment filled with excitement and a touch of nostalgia.
Truth is, my daughter has been itching to start school for quite a while now. Having spent the last couple of years in preschool, she has come to love all of the excitement that comes with school – seeing your friends, going on field trips, learning about dinosaurs and so much more.
I’m lucky to have a kid who loves reading and learning so much. By virtue of my job with United Way, I was fortunate to get some great advice (and a number of books!) from the staff at the Centre for Family Literacy when my daughter was born. I learned about the importance of reading with your children – how it is the connection that forms from just sitting down together with a book that is as important as the book itself. We still read every day and I can’t even begin to imagine how much this has helped get her ready for school.
A recent study in British Columbia found that about nearly 30% of students enter kindergarten lacking many of the skills that they will need to be successful in school. We will soon have information available on how children in Alberta are doing as an Early Childhood Mapping project is now underway. Chances are, the results will be similar.
I don’t take for granted even for a moment how lucky my daughter is. We have been able to fuel her interest in learning by buying her books, enrolling her in preschool and other classes where she can develop a love for music, dance and sports. The reality is that for some families, it is not easy to provide those opportunities.
That’s why programs like Books for Babies, Early Start and Head Start are so important. They make sure that kids are given a chance to develop a love of learning. They help level the playing field to make sure that all children are given the supports they need to succeed.
Taking my daughter to her first day of Kindergarten was a magical moment for me and for my daughter as well. What will you do to help make Back to School magical for the little people in your life?