Great State: The first day of Pre-K

Great State
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OKLAHOMA CITY - Impressions of 'School Day 1' by Harper LeForce, who, at this point of the morning, is very excited about her first day of Pre-Kindergarten at, "Quail Creek!", she screams.

Harper has a big sister going into the 2nd grade.

A visitor asks Laken LeForce if she's told her sister about what to expect, "No," she replies. "Not much."

Dad Jay LeForce, a teacher himself, includes a little more information.

"No nerves for me," he says holding a coffee cup. "Maybe some for the little one but we're all excited and ready to go."

Where to sit in the car ride, which entrance of the school to go through.

In the lunch room Dad explains, "In the mornings you'll put your backpack in this line. Your sister will be in the 2nd grade line."

People remember the highlights but forget the little things that got them there, things like a big sister's extended hand, a warm breakfast, (Harper's favorite - french toast), and familiar faces.

A few of Laken's friends come over to say hi while mom Brooke LeForce snaps her last few pictures before a goodby hug and kiss.

"I love you baby," she says rubbing Harper's back. "Have a good first day okay?"

Teacher Deena Doolin has seen it all.

A veteran of kindergarten and Pre-K, she's seen every kind of wide eyed look from both parents and kids.

"It's a huge step," she says. "It's a big milestone in their lives and parents' lives as well."

"This is my classroom," says Harper as she enters.

The 4 year old took her first look at this room a few days before during 'Meet the Teacher Day'.

She likes the area with brooms and mops best.

"I love this place. I like Home Living," she says.

So far, Harper can only think of one thing she doesn't like about school.

"Well, I kinda don't like school 'cause the parents don't get to be here," she notes.

She can read 'Spot' books already.

She knows where her backpack goes and where her cubby is.

But somewhere between the Pledge of Allegiance and Calendar Time it hits.

That first day can be just a little scary by yourself.

For a few minutes she stands to the side with head down.

A few tears fall.

A few sniffles alerts Miss Doolin to trouble.

"Are you ready to join us Harper?" she asks. Harper shakes her head but looks up.

"Not yet?" Miss Doolin checks again.

A few minutes later Harper is standing next to her teacher as she performs the first routines of the day.

To get past the fears and the challenges, kids like Harper need a good teacher, a few friends, and a lot of love.

That's a lot to fit into a first day, but it's there.

Harper's first day got a lot better after her morning hiccup.

After school that first day, she assured her next door neighbor that she really did like school.

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