The giveaway is closed. The winner is Shanda Coleman who commented, “I live in Bowling Green and my son attends Natcher Elementary School. I’m so glad you had a wonderful visit. It is a terrific school all year long. So many people recommended visiting the teacher and school ahead of time and our district makes this very easy by having each school host an open house with all the children before the school year starts. It makes the transition smooth for everyone.” Thanks to everyone who entered!
I jokingly called her the kindergartener whisperer, and I wasn’t kidding. Mrs. Patrice McCrary, a National Teacher Hall of Fame educator, is a veritable expert on all things Kindergarten!
Last week Miss A and I joined four amazing mom bloggers and their equally amazing soon-to-be kindergartners for a trip to Bowling Green to soak up the years of knowledge from kindergarten teacher Patrice McCrary. I was excited to have the chance to bring my 5-year-old “future blogger of America” on a special mother/daughter trip and I was also looking forward to visiting Bowling Green, as I graduated from Western Kentucky University. Go Big Red! I’ve been on a few blog trips this year, but this is the first one I shared with one of my kids and that was a pretty special experience.
We rode to Kentucky from Nashville in style via a white stretch limo and I knew from the attention to detail that this would be an amazing experience. Ya’ll, they served the kids (both big and little) Little Debbie snack cakes on a silver tray. We also had a lovely welcoming dinner at tables set with fun primary color touches by a local party planner (thank you Leona for the amazing paint buckets filled with goodies at the kids’ activity table!) Mrs. McCrary gave all the kids fun Dr. Seuss tote bags filled with crayons, an activity book for building writing skills, and a tiny notebook.
On Friday our kids got a sneak peek at kindergarten life. Imagine their delight when they saw a big yellow school bus pull up in front of the Bowling Green Holiday Inn. I think this was as equally exciting as the limo ride. We headed to the beautiful William H. Natcher Elementary School for a morning of good ole get your hands dirty with glue and finger paint arts and crafts activities, special story time from Mrs. McCrary who read Germs Make Me Sick, and fun hands-on insight on how easily germs spread. It never ceases to amaze me how kids of all ages, including myself, are grossed out by the invisible germs a black light exposes. Let’s just say tiny hands pack an impressive amount of partying like rock star bacteria.
After a morning of activities in a bright and cheery classroom that had me wanting to curl up in the reading corner with a couple of good books, the kids watched a video and ate lunch while we parent types ate lunch in the beautiful school library and sat down to soak up some of Mrs. McCrary’s tips for making the school transition a smooth one. We also heard some inspirational tales from this amazing teacher. I cried and I laughed until I cried. Yes, I needed tissue.
Here are just a few tips from Mrs. McCrary (who is also featured in the book, “What Kindergarten Teachers Know,” which was provided to all of us in a goodie bag):
- Start getting ready for school now! Get your kids in bed earlier each night. For older kids, you can entice them with reading. Tell them they can stay up 30 minutes later, if, and only if, they are reading in bed. Otherwise? Lights out!
- Sunday night is a great night for choosing the week’s outfits (this includes YOU parents!) Mrs. McCrary chooses her week’s wardrobe and then irons it while watching Desperate Housewives. I rarely touch my iron so I’m already one step ahead of the game if I just follow this one organization tip.
- Read to your children and converse with your incoming kindergartners in complete sentences; the kids with the biggest vocabularies, McCrary noted, do the best in school. We are, sadly, raising kids in a society that says it’s OK to plug our kids into TVs, handheld video games, DVD players constantly, even in the car. Unplug the electronics and converse with your kids in the car!
- Celebrate the milestone of kindergarten! Yes, you may be sad about your “baby,” especially if your youngest child, like mine is starting school, but this is a happy occasion and your children will sense your anxiety.
- Working parents who can’t be home when their child gets home from school can ask their child to videotape a synopsis of their day or use a hand-held voice recorder to talk about their special day at school. When you get home from work you and your child can then sit down together and watch or listen and catch up on the day.
- At the end of the school day, ask your child specific questions and not just “What did you do today?” Ask them what they ate for lunch or if they learned any special songs.
The fabulous bloggers and their cute kids who also took part of this Kleenex back to school outing were (from left to right) were Ellen from Love That Max; Becky from Nickels -n-Dimes; Niri from Mommy Niri; and Tara from Deal Seeking Mom. Thanks to Cooper Munroe from The Motherhood for organizing this great event!
And now for something fun…to celebrate back to school I’m giving away a month’s supply of Kleenex tissue to a lucky reader.
How to enter: Leave a comment with your best tip for preparing your kids for the first week of school. Some of your tips may be included on the Kleenex back to school website! I’ve uploaded several videos to the BlondeMomBlog.com YouTube Channel with great tips from Mrs. McCrary and the world’s cutest song, Tony Chestnut. Seriously. The cute. It is overwhelming. Observe my own Miss A…
A random winner for the Kleenex giveaway will be chosen from all eligible comments left by midnight Friday, July 30.
Good luck! I can’t wait to read your back to school tips.
Disclosure: Kleenex sponsored this event and paid for our transportation to Bowling Green, as well as my hotel accommodations and meals. And yes, we had a nice goody bag in our hotel rooms that included…drum roll…Kleenex upon arrival. I have linked to my Amazon affiliate account in this post for book mentions.