By Tessa Raebeck
A graduate of Sag Harbor’s prekindergarten program, Toshi Shiga is on the verge of entering kindergarten at Sag Harbor Elementary School on Wednesday, September 3. A lover of the Ninja Turtles, video games and girls, Toshi grew up in Sag Harbor—and some would argue that he’s still growing. He discusses his plans for the first day of school, kindergarten and looming adulthood.
Now that you’re going into kindergarten, you’re going to learn to read and write, meet new classmates and be in a new building. What makes you most excited about entering elementary school?
I think I’m going to get a Power Rangers backpack. Or a Ninja Turtles one and a bunch of pencils, pens and crayons to go in it. On the first day, I want to wear my skeleton shirt. I have two, but I’m going to wear the one that glows in the dark.
Entering grade school also means a lot of monumental life changes. Anything you’re nervous about?
Making friends. It’s kind of hard, but if I want to be friends with somebody in my class, I would have to ask them if they want to be my friend. Or say please. Maybe I would ask them to play a game with me. If it were a girl, maybe I would kiss her.
At the Sag Harbor Elementary School, where you’ll be starting next week, there is a green playground. Are you familiar with it?
I love the school park because I like the slides. That’s the school I’m going to? Oh my gosh, I’m so jealous. That’s the one we always go to with my friend Antonio; I’m jealous that I’m going to that school with the big, cool playground. I’m jealous of myself.
What did you learn in pre-k that’s prepared you for kindergarten?
I learned about insects, tweeters [birds], swings, choo-choo horns [steam engine whistles] and how to make friends. I learned that a bully is someone who’s naughty and not nice. If you meet one, you should tell your teacher they’re being mean to you and try not to play with them.
Between the sciences, technology, counting, shapes and all the other things you’ve learned about, what’s your favorite thing to do at school?
What do you want to learn about in kindergarten?
I want to learn how games are made and about the iPads and computers. If I could read, that would help me make and play video games, so I’m excited to learn reading. Stampy [a video game creator I admire] learned Minecraft and other games in school, so I could do that too. When I visited a class last year [during kindergarten orientation], they had a mailroom. It was a toy mailroom. You could play with the mail and that was really cool.
Show-and-Tell is a pivotal part of kindergarten. Have you brainstormed ideas of what you want to bring in to show your teacher and class?
I love show-and-tell. I would bring in my awesome Ninja Turtles thing I have. It’s a comic book. It’s the first comic book I ever had; I loved it.
Kindergarten is a big step from pre-k. It’s the first time you’ll be in a school with older kids and more classes like gym, math and science. Do you feel this is a big life transition for you?
Yeah, pre-k is for big boys, but kindergarten is for bigger boys. I’m on level five [years old] and might level up to six in kindergarten. I don’t really feel like I’m five yet—I still feel like I’m four—but when I get to kindergarten I think I’ll feel older. I used to just eat grilled cheese, noodles and white macaroni and cheesy shells for lunch, but now that I’m in kindergarten, I’m going to have a chicken sandwich for lunch. I was too young before, but now that I’m going to be a big boy in kindergarten, I’m going to have a chicken sandwich—and a freeze-pop.