Last week, Theo and I had our first official day of preschool. And no, I’m not being the weird, over-protective, helicopter parent by saying that “we” had our first day, because at Theo’s school, both parents and student attend the first day together as an introduction to the program. Theo has been looking forward to this day for several weeks. I have been looking forward to this day for several…years. (Juuuust kidding, sort of…)
Theo impressed me with his enthusiasm and fearlessness at trying something completely new, and I impressed myself with my very adult, parental behavior. I put on real pants. I wore a very grown up, button down shirt. (I had this panicked feeling as I got myself dressed that people would look at me like, “Who does she think she is? She isn’t responsible enough to be here!”)
It felt weird being there with my preschooler. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m a grown up with a family. It feels a little surreal to be in this stage of life. Goodness knows I don’t have any desire to return to high school, it’s just that part of me still feels like that kid. Am I really old enough, responsible enough, mature enough to be in this position? Who in their right mind entrusted me with a preschooler, for goodness sake??? But then, I look around me and remember that you don’t exactly need a license – let alone any sort of qualifications – to have children so yea, I think I’ll be ok.
But back to preschool.
So this preschool is all play based. I was so excited to see how they operated. Theo will literally be playing the whole time he is there; the learning just happens as a natural byproduct. How cool is that? No flash cards. No memorization. No sitting quietly while a teacher drones on and on about things no one cares about. Just play. I felt reassured that my kid’s childhood would remain in tact at this school, something that is really important to me.
During the small motor skills playtime Theo immediately went to the sensory table (no surprise there) and proceeded to shovel various sized bird seed into various sized containers. He handed me a rake and told me to play. So I did.
During the large motor skills playtime Theo ran over to a corner with large, wooden trucks and began moving them around and talking in his “working man” voice (basically a weirdly low-pitched, nasally sounding voice), and was soon joined by another boy. The boys didn’t say much to each other, but happily pushed trucks back and forth on the carpet and occasionally crashed them into each other.
After snack time and a free-play time outside, it was time to go home. Theo climbed into our van elated and announced that he had “a great time” and wanted to know when he could go back. I assured him that he would be back the following week (this week!), and to that he said, “Ok, I love you mommy.”
And that, folks, was that. Not bad for our first day.