Dear kindergarten teacher, 

Nine months ago, I walked my firstborn into your kindergarten classroom, uncertain of what the year ahead would hold.

Here we were, embarking for the first time into the big kid world of school lunches, homework folders, and kids who aren’t always kind. I won’t lie, I was a little apprehensive that a child who still slept with a stuffed monkey and possessed such a tender heart might not handle the transition to kindergarten as smoothly as I dared hope.

But those qualms vanished the moment my child met you.

I watched as you stooped down to her four-foot level, looked her in the eye with a reassuring smile, and instantly won over my daughter’s earnest heart. You helped her find her desk, showed her where her pencils and crayons belonged, and where to hang up her giant heart-patterned blue backpack. As she solemnly took it all in, I saw her shoulders straighten ever so slightly, the sparkle begin to light her eyes, and her confidence quietly grow. She felt safe. Welcomed.

And it was because of you.

In the weeks and months that followed, my little student blossomed under your capable, compassionate hand. She delights in learning—can’t wait, in fact, to show off her newest skills or bits of knowledge, especially to her begrudging 4-year-old brother. She’s cultivated friendships, expanded her imagination along with her academics, and developed a sincere love for school and learning.

Best of all, I know you’ve had fun along the way, too. The picture you texted of my girl during “free choice” time, hand tenderly resting on the doll shoved haphazardly underneath her shirt (lots of kindergarteners’ mommies having babies, after all) told the story of your classroom: we learn here, but we make time for dreaming, too. It’s that balance I so appreciate, and what’s made it easy to place her in your care all those hours every week, and what makes me certain she’s more than ready for that kindergarten graduation.

Whether you realize it or not, you’re teaching so much more than phonics and figures—you’re inspiring young minds when they’re most open to seeing their potential. You take the babies who walk into your classroom each fall and turn them into big kids who are equipped and excited to tackle the next 12 years.

You’re exactly who this grateful mother hoped her child would be lucky enough to find at school.

As she heads into kindergarten graduation, I’m confident the foundation of learning you helped form in her heart and mind this year will only grow broader and stronger as her education unfolds.

Thank you for teaching—and loving—your students so well. 

Carolyn Moore

Carolyn traded a career in local TV news for a gig as a stay-at-home mom, where the days are just as busy and the pay is only slightly worse. She lives in flyover country with her husband and four young kids, and occasionally writes about raising them at Assignment Mom