I’m going to lay it out right here, we had a bad experience with my son’s preschool. But, I am so happy for it. I know, that sounds strange, to have been happy about a bad experience, but I really learned, and more importantly HE really learned through it.
I won’t outline the specifics, but we chose a faith based preschool in our own church because we knew they would teach in a manner consistent with our religious beliefs, and he would likely be in a classroom with kids he will grow up with in our church. This was not a convenient preschool for us geographically, but those two elements were so important that we decided to send him anyway. Our issues were more with the teacher he was assigned and a general lack of communication between the school and the parents. Those things definitely made it a bad experience, but I know so much more know. Better yet, HE knows so much more.
My son had a fabulous experience. For my son, the daily routine, and focus on transitions was paramount in his development. There are things that preschool teachers can do to prepare him for elementary school that I simply cannot mimic. He learned how to negotiate with his peers (and many of them at a time), he learned how to sit still when he was asked, he learned to trust other adults. This is what we hoped for.
As for myself, I learned how to stand up for my child, how to ask appropriate questions, and how to let go a little of this child who has been my every moment for almost five years.
Preschool is as much a learning experience for a parent as it is for a child. I am so glad that when that big yellow bus comes to bring my baby to his big school, that it won’t be the first time I’ve had to hand over his little growing mind to someone else. Maybe the big yellow bus will be the biggest challenge of that day. I am so pleased that he will have an opportunity to grow into who he really is without his mom’s laser focused eye on him at all times. I think it’s so important for children to have many opportunities as they grow to learn to trust other adults. Preschool was the beginning of trusting that other people can manage my son and encourage him to flourish. So, even though our first go ’round in preschool was not a smashing success, we all learned lessons, and when we take the training wheels off, and send him to the big leagues, we all will feel a little more ready. I’ll chalk that up as a win.