Tomorrow Big will be “graduating” from preschool. And while a ceremony might seem a bit silly, recognizing how very far he’s come in two short years is a must. His first day he tackled me crying, begging me not to leave. Now he practically tackles me running in the door to see his friends and teachers. He’s gone from being letter agnostic to a beginning reader. Big has developed a love of learning that I know he’ll take with him to kindergarten. He’s grown in confidence, knowledge and spirit these past two years. What more could a mom ask for?
The funny thing is, I learned a lot too. Since he barely spoke the first year, I would get glimpses into his preschool life when I co-oped once a month. This year—as he’s come out of his shell—I’ve been able to relax a bit more when I’m there, and really reflect on what a special time in life preschool can be.
Lesson #1: Fingers are meant for painting, picking and sucking.
Often all at once. And when the teacher says “Criss-cross-apple-sauce!”, she might as well say, “Nose picking time!”
Lesson #2: Some kids can’t help but do the exact opposite of what they’re told.
This one I wish I had known before reading Don’t Bite the Teacher to a group of 3-year-old boys.
Lesson #3: This is a time when parents fears are calmed or confirmed.
Not being able to write upper and lower case letters at age 3 is not a sign of a learning disability. Not having a best friend in the class (or any friends, really) doesn’t mean your child will be a social outcast for the rest of his life. Spitting at and biting authority figures actually is a sign of a real problem. And the positive influence your “good kid” has on the “troubled kid” far outweighs the negative influence going the other direction—thanks, of course, to the wonderful foundation you’ve given your child—and it means a great deal to the teacher and the other parents.
Lesson #4: “D is for Diet Coke!”
Kids don’t censor themselves (even when they’re revealing things about their parents). Another kid told me, “I saw a man marry a man.” Which seemed deep for a 4-year old, until he followed that up with, “I also saw a man marry a hot dog!” Ah, innocence.
Lesson #5: If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, preschoolers are all about confidence building.
When the teacher asks a question and goes around the circle for responses, 7 out of 10 answers are the same. But somehow each kid says it with pride and enthusiasm.
Lesson #6: You can’t help but smile doing the Chicken Dance.
Ok, maybe not when the DJ busts it out at your kid-free wedding, but when you’re surrounded by 15 giddy preschoolers, it’s just about the best song in the world.
Lesson #7: Prep work for preschool art projects takes way longer than the project itself.
And if the perfectionist in you develops a phobia of cutting at age 5, you can bet your co-oping assignment will almost always involve cutting. Very, very intricate shapes.
Lesson #8: There comes a point in the year when the kids realize they’re outgrowing preschool.
Recently at circle time, a little boy was trying to squeeze into his spot and he said, “When is the rug going to grow like we have?”
And so the time comes for me to accept that my little boy is growing up—literally and figuratively. I’m so grateful that he’s had this time in preschool—with loving, nurturing teachers—to develop. And that I got the opportunity to see it happen right before my eyes.
Do you have a preschooler? What funny or insightful lessons have you learned watching your child’s experience?