ed. note: As the end of the school year approaches, and we get geared up for summer let's look back with Amy T. (Mom to two kinders now) as she get's excited for the start of another year of preschool.
As a parent in a parent participation preschool, starting school again is not only exciting for my kids, but for me as well! I have been missing the other parents that I have gotten to know so well last year in the 2's class and then I had a chance to meet some new parents during summer school. So this year in the 3's class we will all be together and I can't wait to get back! I have come to rely on the school community very much - the parents are some of my closest friends and the teachers' experience and knowledge about child development has forever changed me as a parent.
We started at Explorer Preschool when the twins were only 19 months old in a Together Time for Parents and Toddlers class. A few other Gemini Crickets families were enrolling their twins, as well as several close friends of mine who had a child the same age. It was a great way to get out with the kids in a preschool setting with other moms that I knew while getting some much needed parent education in the process. Being a former teacher myself, I just couldn't get enough of this school! I felt completely welcomed there and I embraced the child-centered play-based philosophy immediately. I had so many questions about my own toddlers' development and throw in the fact that I had TWO toddlers going through the exact SAME stages at the SAME time made this program a sanity life saver.
This will be our third year at Explorer and the kids have been anticipating being in the "big" classroom with the two 3's teachers (who are not the same as their 2's teacher last year) all summer long. I have been anticipating school all summer also. This is my first year on the board as the Membership Chair, so I have been working on class lists and attending board meetings since June. I've also been a little anxious about how my son will be the first time I won't be working in the classroom this year. He had very strong separation anxiety all last year and it was a bit stressful in the beginning for me. Being the parent of twins in a one day per week class, you don't get very many days off in a parent participation school. But the few days I did not work in the classroom, he was very upset and it took him almost the whole year before he was OK with me leaving. He would even cry if I was out of sight while working in the classroom. My daughter, on the other hand, hardly noticed I was there and when I dropped her off, she gave me a quick kiss and barely looked back. OK, so I know we aren't supposed to compare our twins, but there was a very big difference in how each of my kids were handling the whole separation issue and I just wasn't sure how to handle it in the beginning. I was frustrated, sad for him, and wondered what I was doing wrong. The support I received from the parents and teachers is one of the many reasons why I love this school. I never once felt judged. In fact, I quickly learned from the teacher that toddlers often have to get out some negative emotions and once they do, they can move forward. Yes, it took him ALL school year, but during that time I knew he had eight other working parents and a teacher in the classroom, supporting him, loving him and guiding him in a developmentally appropriate way. It was OK for him to cry and I knew he was in a safe environment with adults that I had come to know very well and who always gave me feedback about his day when I wasn't there. And I did the same for them. I am so grateful to his teacher for helping us through what could have been a very stressful year but instead was a year of growth for us both.
Our first official day is September 15th but we have already been easing into it - which is perfect for my son. We had a play day at school, a meet the teacher time to explore the classroom and a practice day with half the kids and parents. Already my son seems much more relaxed. During the practice day he sat right down with the teacher and read a story with her. He didn't even look up once to see where I was. Sniff, sniff Hooray! He is excited about starting school and he's been much more independent just in the few times we've been there. I loved walking into class and seeing all the familiar faces - children and parents alike. It feels good to be back at school with our friends and I look forward to another year of wonderful memories with the children, parents and teachers at our beloved preschool!
Original post to Mad About Multiples. Amy's blog is Audrey and Nathan. This post was orginally published on September 15, 2009.