The Great Hope: Kindergarten and Community – Katie McGongolwa – North Carolina News

The Great Hope: Kindergarten and Community – Katie McGongolwa –  North Carolina News

My name is Katie, and my kid is about to start kindergarten.

If you are a parent, I am willing to bet you can feel the stress and energy radiating out of that sentence. What a process, right? What a change!

I have never been overly sentimental about stages changing; there are always easy parts and hard parts about seeing certain chapters end and others begin. But kindergarten is gnawing at me in a way that these other stages haven’t.

Perhaps because there’s a certain permanence to it: preschool always had a clear end in sight. Perhaps it’s because I am a teacher, and I recognize how these early years of education can really set the tone for a child’s love of learning and understanding of self. Maybe it’s because of the current political climate, where a brown girl’s experiences in school can be tumultuous. And probably it’s because she also just lost her first loose tooth and this sweet cocoon of early childhood seems to be slipping away.

We live in Chapel Hill, the same town I grew up in. I am a proud product of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools system, from Estes Hills Elementary School to Phillips Middle School to East Chapel Hill High School. I’ve been excited to have my daughter become a member of this great school district.

We’ve been touring local schools. We toured the school we are districted for, as well as some of the dual-language school programs. When we visited Frank Porter Graham Bilingüe, vice principal José Nambo led the tour. The other mom on the tour and I were in the same position: this was our first child to enter kindergarten, and our brains were frantically balancing pros and…

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