First year of preschool, done. I did great :)
It’s in the books. m’s first year of preschool just came to a close. It was a beautiful year. I didn’t cry when we took her for her first day, but I sobbed on the last day. Not because it meant that I now have 2 kids home for the ENTIRE summer, but because of all that her school has done for her. m was a total stud and was chomping at the bit to go to school. Day one she didn’t need me. We walked in and she took off, but the school asked that we stay at least for the first day in case our child needed us. I spent the morning in the library at the school counting the minutes to be able to go home. I should mention that her school does a phenomenal job of easing the children into their new environment. They even have the teachers do a home visit and come see the children at your house so that they can have one on one time and introduce themselves in an environment familiar to the kids.
It also doesn’t hurt that m goes to a Reggio school. Reggio schools believe in child led learning. My simple explanation of Reggio is that it is kind of the preschool of yesteryear. The kids get to explore all different types of media in a myriad of forms and manipulations. Yes, that means that she comes home with paint in her ears and dirt under her nails, but it works for us. She catches rollie pollies in the play yard, they released ladybugs in the school garden, she explores dramatic play in the studio of stories, and she eats a family style lunch at a table with dishes, plates, and cups. With all of this, it was hard for HeyBabeDaddy and me to not just want to stay at school and play ourselves (seriously, if I could enroll I would…I think there are a lot of grown ups who could use a little preschool in our days).
Once m was in, she didn’t look back. She forged bonds with her teachers, the studio teachers, classmates, and even a few of the older children down the hall. Going to school everyday was a pleasure. We had to repeatedly explain to her that we don’t go to school on weekends so that her teachers can spend time with their families. Preschool is this girl’s jam. She knows all of the children’s names and most of the parents’ (I know because she stops them in the school yard at drop off to invite them over to our house, or to let them know that she would like to visit their house – that is my girl. Haha).
The closing of this year is so special to me because of all that she was exposed to in that little school. It is the size of a small house, with a yard. Not a large campus, but all that they pack into their limited square footage is so very purposeful. There is so much intention in the placement of all of the toys, materials, and resources for the children. The children are encouraged to ask questions and to answer them (which is sometimes hilarious and equally as often amazing). m has a confidence that has been fostered in her exposure to freedom and at the same time responsibility.
I truly could not have asked for more. The tears arose in me like a wave. Slowly building and then culminating in a breathtaking free fall once it reached its peak. I tried to hold it in as I looked at the teachers on my way out the gate, but when I looked at them I saw everything that I missed all of the days in between day one and day…well the last day. What I missed, while I was rushing to make her a hearty breakfast to start her day, rubbing in sunscreen as she scrambled away from me out the door, nursing j in carrier and power walking home hoping he can hang on to nap in his own bed rather than on me…On that last day all of the hours that those teachers spent nourishing m emotionally and literally.
These grown ups, who guided her through bumps (when she jumped off of the stool in bathroom?!?!), heated debates over “being first” and whose “turn” it was, and encouraged her to perfect a pinch pot, paint with her toes, and tell tall tales. I cried not because I missed all of those moments, but because she was able to have them. As much as I love my children, I could never have been all of those role models in all of those roles. Her teachers completed the other half of her day and enhanced the foundation that HeyBabeDaddy and I work so hard to provide and support for her.
I am deeply thankful for this summer break, to be overwhelmed with time with my first baby, and that the light at the end of this exhausting tunnel called “summer break” is so bright!