They didn’t know it but Carolyn Seward’s kindergarteners became part of history just by walking into her classroom Tuesday with their parents and taking their first shy steps to find their seats.
On their first day of school, they were joining the ranks of people educated at the Davis Street School over the last 100 years.
The Davis Street School, officially known as the Davis Academy for Arts and Design Innovation Magnet School, turned 100 this year. The staff has been prepping for the upcoming centennial celebration while simultaneously preparing for the start of school.
On Tuesday, the school welcomed Seward’s kindergarteners—the Class of 2031—into a building that has changed and grown as its mission has done the same over the last century. Davis is a pre-K-8 school that serves about 500 students, of which a little over 10 percent are kindergarten students.
After Seward announced their name, each child filed into the classroom wearing a slightly oversized backpack, most clutching the hand of a parent. A classroom aide helped them find a seat at a table with their name on it.
There were some tears, but for the most part, the students were able to put whatever apprehension they had away in favor of coloring and bonding with their tablemates.
Parents tried to mask their own emotions, putting on brave smiles for each of their kindergarteners and waiting for the big moment when they’d have to give their little one a final hug and say goodbye.
Some students needed an extra hug, a pep talk from dad, or a little more time on mommy’s lap but eventually, when all of the students had been seated, Seward gently encouraged parents to wrap up their goodbyes.
It was time for the children to do what kindergarteners have done for 100 years at Davis: start learning the rules of the road on their own.
“When I say, 1-2-3 all eyes on me,” Seward said after she’d quieted the class and got their attention, “You get to say, 1-2 all eyes on you. Then you turn to look at me and put your hands together.”
Seward demonstrated to the students how she wanted them to clasp their tiny hands together and hold them in front of their chests.
After that, they learned how to find their personal cubby where they would hang up their backpack and their lunch and store the extra set of clothes. And so went the first hour of kindergarten.
Next month the students and their parents will get to participate in the official Centennial Celebration which will feature alumni school tours (Oct. 5), an alumni dinner (Oct. 6 at Cascade’s in Hamden), a school performance (Oct. 12), and a family picnic (Oct. 14).
If you are an alum of Davis Street School the Centennial Committee wants to make sure you’re included in the celebration. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.