I remember dropping Leo off for his first day of preschool almost three years ago, he seemed like such a baby. The playground was filled with veteran preschool parents smiling and greeting teachers and friends after the week-long Summer break… and then there were the newbies like Lenny and myself, unsure of where to put our children’s lunch boxes and how to leave without causing a scene.
A kind pre-school teacher leaned over two children fighting over a toy in the sandbox and told them to “use their words.” I was so scared for Leo, just a few weeks into his second year he barely knew any words. When it was time for the parents to leave, Leo sobbed hysterically, for a second I considered taking him home. Maybe he wasn’t ready.
Then a teacher explained to him that Mommy and Daddy were leaving but would be back. It turned out he was only sad because he thought he had to leave too! He ran away from us into the sandbox, then it was my turn to cry in the parking lot. My baby was no longer a baby. That sadness and hesitation melted way quickly. Preschool has been wonderful experience for Leo and for us.
His school is play-based with monthly changing themes which have exploded Leo’s imagination. Without any direction or props Leo can play in space, in the ocean, in the jungle only using the power of his mind.
He has learned how to make friends and how to treat he peers. He has his own rich social life at school complete with “best friends,” bickering and the occasional bully- and he can handle it all with grace. He knows how to resolve conflict and recognizes when a friend is feeling sad or left out.
With Kindergarten around the corner, we know that Leo is well prepared.
Along with Leo, Lenny and I and I have also had a great experience. We have made wonderful friends whom with we share play dates, dinners, holidays and vacations. Through lice scares, toddler tantrums and countless viruses we have had a great support team in the friends we have made through preschool. I have learned that having friends who share a same-age child is essential to dealing with the stresses and joys of parenting.
Above all, we trust our preschool. We have been able to drop off our son and know that he is with teachers that truly care for him. When he is there, I know he is happy and engaging in an awesome activities. That is priceless.
In September Lucy will be starting at the same school, I can’t guarantee that it will be a tear-free drop off that first day but I am so excited for her and the new friends she will make and the experiences she will have.