City moms feeling anxious about sending children to school for the first time

Diane Crocker
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CORNER BROOK  As mothers of five-year-old girls Deborah McCarthy and Terri Lynn Cull-Jenkins are happy to see their daughters excited about starting kindergarten. But at the same time both moms have some aprehensions.

McCarthy’s daughter Kyah will be going into French immersion at Immaculate Heart of Mary School. Kyah attended the junior kindergarten program at the school last year, but McCarthy said things will be a bit different this year.

“That was more of a day-care setting, so this is going to be more of a sit down and learn setting, which is going to be different for sure.”

But McCarthy is confident Kyah is up for the challenge.

“She loves to learn,” she said. “She loves learning anything new and everything kind of sticks with her and she gets really excited about it.”

To demonstrate Kyah proudly says “bonjour” when asked if she knows any French words yet.

“We’ve been talking a lot about the excitement of learning a new language,” said McCarthy.

But she said this is where some of her own anxiety comes in from not knowing the language herself. “I hear from other parents that it’s not really necessary for you to know it,” she said, noting that’s helping alleviate her fears a bit. She’s also confident that Kyah will get any help she needs at school.

In terms of preparing Kyah for the start of school, McCarthy said she’s been reminding her that some of her friends from last year will be in her class and that she’ll get to meet new friends and a new teacher.

“Seeing my friends,” is what Kyah softly says is the thing she’s most looking forward to.

With summer being a little more relaxed, McCarthy said they’ve also been gradually reducing TV time in the evening and backing up Kyah’s bedtime. And, of course, they’ve been doing some shopping.

“I got two backpacks,” said Kyah. Her plan is to alternate between the two, one a “Hello Kitty” and the other “Monster High.”

One thing that will help this family get ready in the morning is that Kyah will wear a uniform to school. Mom loves that. “It takes the pressure off big time. There’s no arguing, this is what you have to wear.”

Even though McCarthy is confident Kyah is ready for kindergarten she still figures she’ll shed a few tears on Wednesday.

“I think just cause it’s reality that she’s growing up. She’s not a baby anymore.”

Cull-Jenkins’ daughter Claire Jenkins will start kindergarten at J.J. Curling Elementary on Wednesday morning and she can see herself with tears in it her eyes. That’s because Cull-Jenkins is feeling a lot of anxiety.

“She has none, she’s super excited,” said Cull-Jenkins of her daughter. “And I have every one.”

Some of her anxiety comes from the fact Claire has some speech difficulties. She has been working with a speech language pathologist since she was three.

“She’s come a long way and I’m super proud and I’m so glad that she doesn’t care.”

Claire participated in the KinderStart program at the school last year, so mom said she’s familiar with the school and that has helped in preparing her for the changes ahead.

Cull-Jenkins is also nervous of putting Claire on the bus each day.

“But she can’t wait to go on the school bus,” said Cull-Jenkins.

Like many moms Cull-Jenkins plans to follow the bus to school.

One other thing that’s bothering mom is the kindergarten schedule. With half days that will alternate between morning and afternoon sessions, Cull-Jenkins is concerned about juggling that schedule with work and then day care.

In terms of shopping, they have bought a bookbag and some sneakers with velcro.

“Her teacher wants everybody to give her $25 and she’s going to take care of the school supplies, which is great,” said Cull-Jenkins. “She said she’s learnt that if she goes and purchases the school supplies then everybody has the same.”

Despite the anxiety, Cull-Jenkins is excited for Claire to start school.

“I think she’s just going to go and have a ton of fun, I really do.”




Organizations: Mary School

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