FORT STEWART, Ga. - While Aug. 4 marked the first day of school for many schools across Coastal Georgia, schools in Savannah has yet to begin. Once the calendar hits Aug. 22, Savannah schools would be ready to ring the bells and open the doors for students and parents alike for the new school year.

For parents whose child’s first day of school begun Aug. 4, the first day jitters hit some parents harder than a kindergartner entering a classroom for the first time. Some parents expressed excitement about their child’s first day of school; however, others felt melancholy.

“It was bittersweet because I always want [my son] to be my baby,” said Pearl Fyderek, Family Member. “It’s exciting to see him grow up. He is in kindergarten, so it’s like watching him grow from pre-school to kindergarten then to actual school.”

Fyderek’s five-year-old son JJ is severely developmentally delayed, known as SDD. Her concern is how he will transition into the school environment.

“He’s considered SDD,” she said. “It just means he has a little trouble with paying attention and is speech delayed. We look at it as what 5-year-old has a great attention span, and we just go from there.”

Children who are severely developmentally delayed have difficulty with social interaction, communication skills and will display significantly repetitive behavior or unique interests separating the child from his peers, according to a article.

“I feel comfortable knowing his teacher specializes with children who have special needs,” she said. “I see her as his day mom, and I want them to have a good relationship. This is what she does; this is what she went to school for, so I feel comfortable with his teacher.”

For Staff Sergeant Tanya Thomas, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, who redeployed recently, her daughter began pre-school.

“Time went by so fast. I feel like she was born yesterday,” she said. “It is kind of a shock when you come back after being gone for a long time. I’d like to go back a year or two because time goes by so fast.”

Staff Sergeant Thomas said that she holds onto memories by taking a lot of pictures.
Fyderek said she was a little tearful on her son’s first day of school. Her advice is simply “out of sight, out of mind.”

“For new parents, you have to put on a brave face,” she said. “When you cry, wait until you are out of sight. Your child will react as you react.”

For parents like Kaytrina Curtis, Family Member, she said that she remembers when her daughter, who is now a college student, first started school. She was also a tearful parent, she said.

“A tip that I would have for any parent is treasure the time you have with [your children] while they are little,” she said. “When they want those hugs, regardless, don’t ever tell your kid they are too big to hug. Don’t ever stop holding their hand. Don’t ever ever ever stop talking to them. When they ask you the difficult questions, answer them because you don’t want somebody on the streets to answer those questions for you. You don’t want somebody outside your moral compass; your set values to answer those questions for your child who you have the huge responsibility of rearing.”

Savannah schools begin Aug. 22.