Jen Anderson is guest writing this post. Jen is a long-time parent at Aldersgate and is beginning her second year on our Preschool Board. Jen will also be our personnel chair on the board. Her words touch my heart.
“Mommy, I’m a little frightened about school.” My four-year old son stops in the middle of drawing. Although he has been going to Aldersgate since he was one, his statement doesn’t surprise me. He is my cautious, strong-willed child. I give him a hug and tell him that I understand new things can be a bit scary, but I know he will like school for two big reasons. One, the Red class will have new “bigger boy” toys and two, I know his teachers will be very, very nice. We talk briefly about some of his favorite things in Yellow class and how much he liked his teachers, then he went back to drawing. I know we will have similar conversations several times between now and the start of school.
While it is tough to see my child scared or struggle, I know that Aldersgate is the right place for him. My family has had at least one child at Aldersgate for the past six years. Not only was my first child prepared for Kindergarten academically, more important to me, it met my two primary goals: 1) Feel safe and secure away from me, and 2) Develop a love of learning. These goals were achieved by the hard work of the teachers!!
It is no secret that teachers do not make big bucks; unfortunately, early childhood education is on the bottom of that scale. Over the years, I’ve not had a teacher where I thought she considered it “just a job”. I’ve seen teachers that have a true passion for engaging and interacting with kids. It is not the big paychecks or the amazing benefits that attracted them to the profession. No fancy perks. No 401K. No healthcare. They get a few vacation hours and a few sick days. And while changing diapers and cleaning up after art projects is essential, few would consider it glamorous!
Last year as we were dropping off my younger two children, I had my (then) kindergartener with me as it was one of those few days that Olathe public school was off and Aldersgate was in. As we walked through the halls, several of the teachers stopped to say hi to my son. He acted shy and a bit embarrassed and did not talk to them except a small hello. When we returned to the car, I saw he had a funny smile on his face. “What are you thinking about, bud?” I ask him. “Oh, I just really love that place.” Safe. Secure. Learn through play. SUCCESS.
While I anxiously wait to have a shopping trip to Target and the grocery store ALONE, I am thankful for the ease-in schedule Aldersgate uses at the beginning of school. While my third child would probably be happy staying there an entire day, my “frightened” strong-willed child needed those slower transitions.
I’m sure my son will have a small photocopied family picture in his pocket to “remember” us while at school for the first few weeks. I’m sure there will be tears. But, I’m also sure the teachers and staff will be there with love, hugs, and teaching the entire time!
Have you had any similar experiences with the teachers? How do you prepare your kids for the start of school?