Preschool provides a safe venue for kids to learn some hard lessons about the world. Is your preschooler ready?
Lesson# 1: What do you mean you’re not going to stay? For kids who’ve been home with parents, preschool may represent their first major separation. You can prepare your child with visits to friends, playdates in other homes and seeing the classroom before the first day of school.
As summer winds down, parents see the start of another school year lurking around the corner. Summer freedom has been a blast, but academic expectations lie just ahead. Here are a few suggestions to rev up your kids’ learning power.
A family of five I know has had a heck of a year. They’ve lost a grandfather, suffered the loss of a job, and now struggle with the serious illness of their mother.
This family’s three children have missed out on the carefree days of youth in the last year. Instead, they’ve attended a funeral and mourned the loss of one who played a significant role in their lives.
They’ve listened in as their parents strategized about how to make do with less in the face of a lost salary.
“Don’t sweat this deadline,” commented the longsuffering contractor. “It’s not a matter of life and death.”
Reflecting on his words, I was thinking about how we use that phrase—“a matter of life and death”—to denote the singularly most essential issues in our lives. Our very language respects the importance of the experiences of life and death, but this honor dims in the reality of our expectations sometimes.
Recently I attended a fifth grade “graduation” ceremony. Stuffed like sardines into the hot multi-purpose room typical of public schools, proud parents and grandparents grinned and waved as their kids walked across the stage.
The plane had touched down, but the young mother was still flying high.
She was traveling through three airports with her one and four-year-old children to visit relatives several states away.
Hauling a diaper bag, car seat, and other paraphernalia needed for two little ones, this mother had her hands full. She had thoughtfully prepared snacks, activities and everything else she could think of to make their trip go smoothly.
So an unexpected encounter with a fellow traveler was especially gratifying to her.
Two-year-old Gabby strode confidently into the play group. When I asked where her big sister was, she replied soberly, “At ‘chool.” Gabby was more than glad to have a “’chool” of her own to attend that day.
As a “little sister” myself, I understood her angst. Its the work of the baby in every family to watch from the sidelines as older siblings leave home and do exotic-sounding things like go to preschool.
From our first breath, we seek connection. Newborns blink against the bright lights, then scan their surroundings until they catch sight of their parents' faces. Their eyes light up as they fix their gaze on a loving countenance, investing themselves in this growing bond.
They use their hearing in the same way, listening through the noisy din to recognize the sounds of familiar voices they have come to know already.