I Was In Kindergarten When The Pandemic Started & Here’s What I Remember
We were supposed to go on a field trip to a reptile zoo but the pandemic rudely interrupted it.
A note from Alice’s mom: When the pandemic started, Alice was 5 years old, about halfway through her last semester of kindergarten. I already worked from home, but my husband became fully remote from his office job, and we also had an 18-month-old in the house. When I thought we’d need “two weeks to flatten the curve”, I was thrilled to spend all of that time with our family. But I still have so much anger built up for all that Alice and her sister lost in those early months of the pandemic. I’m furious that we were meant to look at our children as disease incubators that could easily infect and kill all of the adults in their lives, that bars and restaurants (especially here in Georgia) opened up almost immediately, but our favorite playgrounds were covered in caution tape. I’m sad that the year of masks in first grade left her with some social anxiety as she realized how much she depended on people’s facial reactions to know how they were feeling and what they thought of her. And, honestly, I also can’t believe that none of it has affected her now that things are back to normal. She doesn’t seem to remember the scavenger hunts I made up during the pandemic or all of the driveway chalk drawings we made to encourage our neighbors, but she also doesn’t seem to remember a lot of the fear or stress or anxiety. It feels so huge right now, but one day, it’ll be just a little blip of her life. And I’m grateful to hear now what she remembers.
I’m Alice and I’m 8, going on 9. What I remember about the first day of kindergarten was I hung up my bookbag in a cubby and when we sat down we always got out our notebooks, before that if you were early you could play with toys on the floor. (Those eventually got taken away for all the fighting.) My favorite memory about kindergarten was when me and two other boys were playing with dinosaurs and there were houses and an explorer and I did a roar right in front of the explorer.
I mainly remember when the pandemic was when we were supposed to go on a field trip to a reptile zoo but the pandemic rudely interrupted it. I was scared, I was worried about the effects it would have on my relationship with my friends. I was sad that I couldn’t have playdates and we couldn’t get to go in-person on our field trip.
I was super disappointed because our field trip was canceled. I also remember when we first logged onto the zoom and got to see alligators and iguanas.
Something happy about it was the work was super easy and fast so I could play on my tablet all day. I remember when Mommy said when I was supposed to go to Girl Scouts that Mommy had a message that it was canceled.
I did like learning at home because I could finish the work really fast and I could get off a lesson whenever I was done and not have to wait for everyone else to finish.
My parents let me stay on my tablet for pretty much the whole day. My parents worked from home, they weren’t off work.
I like to be able to play games on my tablet all day and watch TV, and play with Lucy. I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t play with anyone but Mommy, Daddy, Lucy, and Bob (Ed note: Bob is the cat.], like I missed my neighbors Ellie and Ruby, or Elliot.
I liked Zoom because we could show things and chat or turn the camera around. The hardest part was not being able to talk very often with my friends.
I liked learning at school better, but I did like learning at home because I could finish the work really fast and I could get off a lesson whenever I was done and not have to wait for everyone else to finish.
I would tell little kids in the future that the pandemic might have affected many kid’s relationships with their friends and possibly family. I would also tell kids that it has good ways, too: let’s say you're a very busy kid with chores and sports, if the pandemic started at the time, you would have more time and possibly spare time to chill with your family.
School is fun now, it's different from before the pandemic and different from during the pandemic because we get to sit at DESKS, and read ACTUAL BOOKS, and TURN & TALK, also we get to TALK AT LUNCH AND AT P.E.
Read more memories from kids who were in kindergarten, here.