I can hardly believe that Brian is finished First Grade. Yesterday was his last day, which means he is officially a Second Grader!
This year has been filled with so many great memories and milestones. Brian loved his teacher, Mrs. Korom. By the end of the year, he had so many new vocabulary words in his tool belt - and he became a wonderful speller! He also learned to read - practically overnight - which was a really exciting accomplishment for him.
He was assessed at the beginning of the year and it showed that he could use some extra assistance with breaking down bigger words and sounding them out. So each week he would meet with Mrs. McGuire for extra help. Well! Mrs. McGuire is my hero! She had Brian believing that he was in a super cool "reading club" and told him that he would probably be the best reader in the class by the end of the year! Each week he got so exciting for "reading club" and all the fun "games" she would play - and, sure enough, he surpassed the goals and "graduated" with flying colors. I think he'll be bummed if he's not in this super secret club next year!!
Brian had a very nice bus driver this year named Miss Karen. Bus drivers deserve medals for so many different reasons - one of which is having to see Kate Leong in her pajamas and shoes at 7am. Brian wanted to give her a gift at the end of the year so we got her a pretty bracelet with an elephant on it.
As elephants are known for their great memory - Karen is known for always remembering to keep the kids safe. She won't let Brian move from the bus until the car coming the other way has come to a complete stop, makes eye contact with her, gives her the secret hand signal and flashes their lights twice. I'm kidding about the lights. In all seriousness - I greatly appreciate how she treats all the kids and looks after their safety.
On the last day, there was a beautiful prayer service before dismissal. At least that's what I heard. After a few minutes inside trying to convince Hope that it wasn't time to call out for Brian or ask me twenty times in a row "Be Quiet?" over and over, I gave up. We decided to hang out on the other side of the church doors and smell the roses. Sometimes it just takes stopping for a second to remember... oh yes, she's just two. You can't expect silence. Ever!
We have a few traditions when a school year ends that are fun! Brian and I like to meet with his new teacher privately. It's totally for brown nose points. Just kidding - it's for lots of other reasons. It started last year when he was so nervous to leave Kindergarten for First Grade. He had heard there was no toys in the classroom, it was really hard and it's wasn't fun at all. I thought meeting with his teacher would help him dispel those rumors... and it worked! He left feeling confident and excited to start First Grade. So the other day we met with his Second Grade Teacher, Mrs. Scelzo. She told him what to expect in her classroom, showed him all of the games that she had and surprised him by telling him that she sometimes has class outside on a nice day! Brian likes to please, so I feel having this one on one meeting gives him a connection with his new teacher - and he then looks forward to pleasing her with his behavior and school work.
He came prepared (on his own!) to share his "personal goals" for the summer. He wants to read for 20 minutes a day, ride his bike (which he has been nervous to do since falling over a year ago!) and finish three workbooks that we bought (that are basically schoolwork!) by the end of August. On the ride home, I asked him what he thought of Mrs. Scelzo. "She's a really happy person. I could tell. I think happy people make great teachers," he told me.
Our other "last day of school" tradition is getting a gift for a great report card! Brian had his heart set on this weird little stuffed guy - and I have my heart set on Brian - so that was easy!
And the last thing we do is go to the hair salon for his summer buzz cut! This year it was perfect timing because we left for our Summer vacation in Ocean City, New Jersey this morning!
It's been so fun to watch Brian grow and change this year. From navigating friendships to dealing with disappointment to trying new things - he's handled everything beautifully. It's hard for me, as his Mom, to watch his baby features go away. This was the photo I took on the first day of First Grade...
...and this was taken the LAST day of First Grade! That's a big change for a Mom's heart.
I know he will continue to change before my eyes every day. I just hope that some things never change. I hope he never loses his compassion... his desire for learning... and his sense of humor. If he can do that, he'll be just fine.
I think we're ready for Second Grade!