“Down, around, and give it a hat!” my 2.5-year-old daughter excitedly said while drawing with her finger on the fogged shower door.
“What are you making?” I asked.
“The number five, Mom. Down, around, and give it a hat! See Mama! A five!” she replied, proudly pointing to her dewy scribble.
Her “five” was not quite the same fifth number you and I are familiar with; nevertheless, the fact that she learned a mnemonic for when she is ready to write an actual five was quite impressive. Why didn’t I think of that? This internal thought has definitely frequented my mind lately. I mean, I have both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education. Shouldn’t I be able to think of creative methods like this to better teach her?
It was about this time last year when my husband and I were deciding whether or not to send our daughter to preschool in the fall. When we began our search, we could not believe the costs! You’re home during the days, my guilty conscience reminded me. It doesn’t really make sense to pay ALL that money if you don’t have to pay for childcare. Also, she’ll only be 2.5. Is there even a point in sending her this early?
We recognized that the expectations for kindergarteners today are much higher than they were for us as children, and despite the crazy expense, we decided to give it a try. And now that we get to hear all about our once very anti-social, shy, and even, at times, aggressive daughter reading with her teacher, singing and dancing in music class, and hugging her peers when they get hurt, I can’t tell you how pleased we are with our choice. Preschool truly provided her with the opportunity to flourish, and she’s a totally different kid because of it. As a result, I unexpectedly became a changed mom.
The last week of summer vacation was ridiculously hard for me. Up until that point, it was usually just my daughter and I, and although we were expecting another baby soon, the idea of dropping her off somewhere (besides my gym’s daycare where I’m just one floor above her for less than an hour), definitely freaked me out. To my amazement though, she could not wait to start: “Preschool today, Mama?,” “Other kids gonna be there?,” “Lots of toys to play with! Right, Mom?,” etc. This same excitement continued up until her first day. And every single day after that.
Who knew the thrill of going to preschool was contagious though? It didn’t take long for me to begin looking forward to those two quiet, toddler-free mornings, as well. I was able to get my lesson plans done for my tutoring business and writing work in before deadline, even sometimes still having a half hour or so to run an errand or two. It was beyond glorious.
Although when my son was born, preschool was no longer just a commodity to me; it actually became a necessity for my sleep-deprived and hormonal self. Tuesdays and Thursdays meant one-on-one baby snuggles and HOT coffee. With no Barbie dolls or stuffed animals to trip over, Daniel Tiger whining in the background, or constant trips to the potty where I balance the infant in my left arm while wiping a toddler’s butt with my right. I began to rely on these days for a recharge. Without them, the two afternoons and other five days my toddler was home became extremely overwhelming for me.
Prior to preschool, my perfectionist-self was always feeling guilty. For example, even though I know the importance of creative play, I have never been, nor will probably ever be, a Play-Doh, glitter, and paint type-of-mom. Luckily, I no longer have to feel bad since my daughter gets her fill of this at school now. Another perk for me is that when she’s at school, absolutely no technology is being used. Now that we have two kids, the TV and iPad seem to be on more than in the past. Instead of feeling like the worst mom ever for “plugging her in” while I feed or bathe the baby, I feel content knowing that while she’s at school, she is communicating face-to-face, using her imagination, and, without a doubt, learning a ton.
Recently I asked Analise why she likes preschool so much. She replied, “I like preschool because it is fun, and my teachers and friends love me.” It’s really been a win-win for both of us.
Interested in sending your kiddo to preschool in the fall? Luckily, metro Detroit has a large amount to choose from. Click here for Detroit Moms Blog’s 2018 Ultimate Preschool Guide.