What I want kindergarten parents to know.

K parents Dear kindergarten parents,

A new school year is starting! For some of you, this is the first time you'll be sending your sweet, sensitive, singular five-year-old anywhere on his own. For others, you have done the whole preschool thing, so you're not hyperventilating, but you also know that real, big-kid school is a whole other ball game.

And now, in late August, you're meeting with me, the kindergarten teacher, and as you bring your little kiddo into this giant classroom with an overwhelming number of tables and long hallways that look prime for getting lost in, you can't stop thinking about how nervous you are.

I want you to know, I'm just as nervous.

I'm not nervous because I don't know what I'm doing. I've been in the classroom for a number of years now, and while I don't consider myself an expert, I do my damn well best to teach things right, and with passion.

No, I'm nervous that you won't know how much I care about your child.

Throughout the year, I will do my best to communicate how much I care about your child, through conferences and little notes home and hopefully many conversations. But I only have so much time in the day, and there are so many kiddos in my class, that I know I will fail at really showing you how much I care. So please, accept my apology for that ahead of time, and allow me a chance to explain it to you now. Here's what I want you to know.

I want you to know that I believe your child is beautiful, and very, very special. I will try to tell him that every day, but if I forget, I'll make sure to tell him tomorrow.

I want you to know that my classroom is a safe place for him. I don't allow kids to be mean to each other, but when they do, I stop what I'm doing to teach them how to be kind.

I want you to know I will do my absolute best to meet her needs: her need to wiggle while I read aloud, her need to go to the bathroom sixteen times a day, her need for a hug when she first walks in the room. Most of my energy is dedicated to making sure I meet the needs of all my kids. And I don't mean just their academic needs. I mean all of them.

I want you to know that my goal is for your child to love school, as much as I loved school when I was little, as much as I love school today. I want him to look forward to coming each day, so that learning is something he will happily do for the rest of his life.

I want you to know that I won't let the testing craze prevent me from giving her time to play, and have fun, and interact with her friends.

I want you to know that her reading level is less important to me than whether or not she is happy at school.

And last, I want you to know that I will let your child be herself. I won't judge her for what she can and can't do, and I will make sure she knows that it's okay to be exactly as she is.

Thank you for sharing your child with me. I hope I can show you how much I care.

Sincerely, your child's kindergarten teacher