September 20, 2010

School days

          Today I will be enrolling my daughter in a two day a week preschool program. Never in a million years did I think I would even be considering such a thing at this point. She's not yet two years old. But she is so ready. She's been ready for a while; I have just needed some time to wrap my head around it.
          My daughter demonstrated just how enthusiastic she is for the idea when we toured the facilities I was considering. At each one she ran in to her peer group classroom and jumped in with whatever activity they were focused on. She and the other kids gave each other hugs. They were instant friends.
          There was not so much as a glance back in my direction to see if I was still there. I could have easily left her there without a fuss. Which did not make me sad. On the contrary, it filled me with joy. I'm so happy we will be able to provide her with this opportunity.
          DD is bright and incredibly eager to learn. We believe she is ready for a structured learning environment (as much as there is at this level anyway). Of even greater benefit will be the socialization aspect. As an only child, it is vital that we provide those opportunities for her. She will never have siblings to learn from, or teach as the case would most likely be.
          Up to this point the majority of her play dates have been one-on-one interactions, often with younger children who defer to her. The class we attend at the baby gym has been more about physical activity and development than socialization. It will be good for her to be in a group of her peers, where she will need to learn cooperation and communication skills not yet fully developed (as if they ever are in toddlers).
          As a parent, you constantly have to be evaluating what is best for your child. It is not about what the books/experts say s/he should or should not be doing at a specific stage. It is about trusting your instincts and learning to read the signals your child gives you. In some ways, they know better than we do what they are ready for/capable of. And their needs can change rapidly.
         When my daughter was an infant, I felt it was best for her to have me home with her. I firmly believe she has benefited greatly from that, and will continue to do so, as we plan for me be home until she begins school full time. I also recognize, however, that there are limits to what I can provide for her. At this juncture, I am confident being in a preschool program two days a week will be great for her.
          Just last week I asked her, "Would you like to go to school?" The response was a very emphatic, "YES!" Complete with vigorous head nodding and an ear-to-ear grin. So on October 1 my baby girl will become a preschooler. And I will not cry. Well, maybe probably a little...

When did your child(ren) begin a preschool program?


  1. good luck, mama! those moments are fabulous, and heart warming and gut wrenching all wrapped into one. but sigh and smile and love that girl up! (and take lot of pictures lol!)

  2. Exciting times! You'll both benefit from a little separation--it makes the time you have together even more precious. :)

  3. good for you! you're both going to enjoy it!

  4. So glad you found one, she will love it (and you can write, uninterrupted)...

  5. E started at 20 months. He had a 6 week old little brother, and honestly, I felt like he was a little bored with us. He LOVES to go to school 2 mornings a week, and then is thrilled to be with his mommy and little brother the rest of the time. It was a great decision for our family and I hope your experience is just as wonderful!

  6. You are absolutely doing the right thing. She will learn to socialize, share, empathize and follow directions from someone else in authority. You will be amazed how much they learn when they are with friends!

  7. sweet! I couldn't get my son off the play yard when we toured. And then the first week of school he clung to us and screamed his head off!

    - Cheryl

  8. @ Minnestota Mameleh - Oh I will take pictures! ;) And share them.

    @ Linda - I am sure you are right!

    @ Karen - Thanks!

    @ Stacey - DD is also 20 months and so ready. And I think we will have a very positive experience. Thanks for sharing yours.

    @ ItRocks - Thanks for the affirmation. Good points, all!

    @ RedDress - We went to officially register this morning, and she kept trying to open the door that leads back to the classrooms. She wanted to stay so badly. Was not happy when we left. We'll see how it goes on her actual first day and beyond...

  9. @ Ginny - It seems I always forget someone. :( I will indeed have more time for writing, which is great! But not the point. And first I have some less than fun things I need to take care of. So the timing is very good for me, too.

  10. Oh, this is hard mom, for sure!

    My sons didn't go to preschool, but their first days of kindergarten felt so weird. Now they're in 8th and 5th grade, but I remember those days very well. It's an adjustment, for you and for her! Good luck and take pictures!

  11. I think that's great. It will give you both a little time to do your own thing. You'll probably meet some fun new friends as well!

  12. I teach preschool (for 3 & 4 year olds with speech delays) and I believe whole-heartedly in preschool, even if your child doesn't need the academics, for that social component that you described in your post. And although your daughter seemed really excited to visit, I will warn you that the day you actually leave might be a bit different (but I hope it will be just as easy). Just remember that she will be fine within minutes of you leaving and will have a great time with her new little friends :)

  13. My son has been in a daycare/school like facility since he was 6 months and he has learned so much from it. Socially he can handle any situation. Academically he will definitely be ready for kindergarten. When I quit work last June, I kept both of my kids home with me over the summer and as much as I hate to admit it, I'm just not enough for him, Caleb needed to be in school with other kids. So we enrolled him in the preschool at our church for 3 1/2 days a week and he is loving it. It was definitely hard the first day, with his backpack and his packed lunch...they are growing up too fast!!

    I know it's going to be difficult, but she's going to do great mama!! She is going to learn so much, make a ton of friends and is going to have so many amazing stories to tell!! I promise it get's easier :)

  14. We started my oldest just after 2 and my middle started three weeks ago 2 days a week. She's just over 2 also. She's still crying everyday, but I know it will get better. My oldest loves it now and she's learned so much, both from an academic stand point, and more importantly at this age, socially. It's hard to leave them, but well worth it for them.

  15. Oh, she will love it! With my first boy, we kept him home till he was three and then he had a very hard time adjusting to other kids. We didn't have a lot of opportunity for play days in our area, so he was very used to playing with and talking to adults. It was like he couldn't understand why the kids were talking like KIDS. I had to put my second son in daycare just after he turned two. He loved it and had no trouble adjusting at all.


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