Last Day of Kindergarten

 Tadeo, Itzel, Jocelyn, Vanessa (La Maestra), Emilio, Marcito, Haide, Maria Jose, Antonio, Angel y Gralya in front of the mural project I did with the kids all year. Vanessa and I finished the mural the day after and added their names.

Tadeo, Itzel, Jocelyn, Vanessa (La Maestra), Emilio, Marcito, Haide, Maria Jose, Antonio, Angel y Gralya in front of the mural project I did with the kids all year. Vanessa and I finished the mural the day after and added their names.

Yesterday was Emilio's last day of Kindergarten. Surely a day of mixed feelings for me. This day marks the end of early childhood, and the beginning of middle childhood. From the Freudian point of view, he is moving from the Oedipal phase that is marked by intense emotions, especially towards the parents, and a focus on the phallus (Freud was male centric) and into the Latency phase, which is more social, connected to the world of friends and people away from home which lasts until puberty. This new phase is the one I have least experience with as a teacher, a therapist, and a nanny. As with the end of every phase of parenting, I have mixed emotions. At first, when the realization hits me, I have a profound sense of loss where I cry cathartically for an hour, then I quickly recover, and feel a new sense of freedom and excitement about the unknown next phase.

I think for Emilio, who hasn't developed nostalgia yet, the day had less significance. Though he will be participating in a graduation ceremony in a few weeks, which is quite exciting due to its promise of sweet and a performance by the kids. Vanessa, the teacher, had requested that all the kids wear their uniforms the second to last day of school so we could take photos of the kids. The kids were supposed to wear their uniforms everyday. But as the year wore on, us parents stopped bothering to put their uniforms on the kids. Seeing them in their uniforms again, reminded me of the first day of school. Emilio had a great year in Kindergarten, and made great progress with his Spanish. He had extra help from our Peruvian neighbor and friend, Silvia, who is a very animated and fun teacher. She and I also do Spanish & English conversation once a week.

In Mexico, the Jardin de Niños includes both preschool and kindergarten, 3-5. At 6 the kids start primaria. In September, Emilio will be going to the primary school in Elias Calles, which shares the school yard with kindergarten. It is a two room school house--the kids, age 6-12 are split into two classrooms, taught be two teachers.

I started shooting photos of the kids in their uniforms, but then I realized Angel was missing. He is considered the rough kid, but I have a very special place in my heart for him. He has an artist's eye. I found Angel hiding in this tree. He was trying to avoid being in the photo, because he was the only kid with out a uniform. I pleaded with him to join the photo, but he was ashamed. Marcito's grandmother put a white playera on him, while he wiped the tears from his eyes. It was heartbreaking. But he did make into the photo. There he is below: second row, far right. Emilio is far left.

Gralya, first row, far left, didn't want to be in the photo either. But I have no idea why--she is pouting and separate for the photo on the top of this post, but now she is in the photo, but still pouting. She will be graduating along with Emilio.

                         Marcito and Itzel. Marcito will be graduating, but Itzel has two more years.

                        Marcito and Itzel. Marcito will be graduating, but Itzel has two more years.

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