There is so much for our children to soak up when they enter their new classroom for the first time. There are new faces, books, a new teacher, and new experiences awaiting them. It is a time of wonderment, exploration, and growth.

It can also be a time of high anxiety.

It’s challenging to process all of that new stimuli, especially with different people in and out of the classroom, and being in a new space with strange kids running around.

As we drop our children off at school over the coming weeks, many of us will experience a sense of ennui. It’s been fun and exhilarating having our kids home with us all summer, going on trips, staying up past bedtime to watch movies and play games, enjoying our favorite family activities.

But like all good things, this, too, must come to an end. It’s time to focus on the rite of passage known as returning to school.

My son is too young – he’s five – to fully grasp the transition of going to school full-time for a full day. After all, for at least the next 13 years, this will be the norm for him. But he only gets one true first day of school and he’s about to arrive at kindergarten where a new world is going to open to him.

I hope that he feels the thrill of walking into a big classroom filled with kids just like him – excited but a little nervous. I hope that he takes a look around that room and feels content and safe. I hope that he sees things he’s never seen before: big new computers, new books, and new learning tools that impress him and make him want to run over and try them right away.

I sincerely hope that he feels a connection with his teacher and makes a new friend or two. Having a buddy will help him feel more connected to the school and excited about returning every day to play with his pal.

More than anything, though, I want him to leave school on his first day imbued with a desire to learn. My goal is that he discovers a passion for knowledge – even if it’s limited at his young age – to learning sight words and regurgitating his letters and numbers.

For such a seminal day in his life, my wife and I will help him to remember all the details to keep it vivid and present for him. We’ll take pictures of him the morning he heads off to school and we’ll talk about it when he returns home. Plus, I’ll journal about it so we always have a memory of his first day of school.

It may be the first day of school, but it’s also the day a foundation is laid for his educational future.