SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

“Experts” Give Advice to Kindergarteners About Becoming 1st Graders

My 1st grade students and I were recently having a discussion about how much they have grown and learned this past school year.

I asked them if they remembered how they felt when they started 1st grade. Then, I asked them what advice they would give a kindergarten child about starting 1st grade this fall.

Some tips were very practical,: “Think before you write, then you won’t have to erase so much.” Some were comforting: “If you get a little scared, let your friends cheer you up.” Some were inspirational: “Even when it’s hard don’t give up.  You’ll find you get it.” And some were profound and grown-up: “You can achieve more than you think.” 

The advice from my students was both heartwarming and on point. Here are other tips from the “experts:”


“Always listen to the teacher and you’ll learn a lot.”


“Think hard and you’ll get smarter.”


“Don’t be afraid to try something new.” 


“It’s just a little harder than kindergarten.”


“Subtraction is the best!”


“You get to see all your friends, and you get to really understand math.”


“You’ll make lots of new friends.”


“In math watch the sign, so you’ll know to do plus or minus.”


“It was great; you learn a lot.”


“Don’t say something is ‘easy’ before you know if it really is.”


And my personal favorite: “Use your words to solve problems.”


Thank you 1st graders for your wonderful, “expert” advice! Thanks too, for working so hard this past year. I’ll miss you!




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