Summer vacation is coming to a close (or maybe already has where you live), and back-to-school is in full swing here. As I am getting backpacks and lunch boxes and supplies ready for my boys to start preschool next week, I was thinking about how we are all ready for school to start. Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys, but we also do well with a little bit of time apart. Preschool is perfect for my children for so many reasons.
My oldest son, Tyler, is 4 and will be starting his third year of preschool next week. Ryan, 2, will be starting preschool for the first time this school year. There are a few of the children in Tyler’s class who were in class with him last year, and he and his one friend will have both been there all three years together. This same boy has a little sister who will be starting in the two-year-old class with Ryan.
Going to preschool gives the boys a bit of independence. They are still under the supervision of their wonderful teachers, but they also feel like they get to do their own thing. They are away from mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, family. Preschool allows the boys a chance to start to think for themselves, and make their own decisions. Their school does free time, allowing the children to do whatever activities they want. Again, lots of choices for them. Decision making. Learning to be independent people while still also learning how to cooperate with their classmates.
Since we have the boys enrolled in an actual preschool program, not just a daycare, they are constantly learning some of the skills they need for Kindergarten. The last two years Tyler has been learning and reinforcing his ABCs, numbers, colors, shapes, days of the week, etc. He has also been learning how to write his name. But it’s not only the “testable” skills, but the classroom skills. My mom taught Kindergarten her first year teaching, and said she could tell within the first day or two which children went to preschool and which didn’t. She said it had nothing to do with “flash card” lessons, but everything to do with how to behave in a classroom setting. By going to preschool, they have learned how to sit at their desk, how to line up when needed, how to take responsibility for their belongings, and how to share with others.
Let’s face it, as a stay-at-home mom, the boys aren’t around other kids too often. Going to preschool gives them a chance to be with other children their age. They learn how to interact. They learn that other’s have feelings and wants and needs different than their own. Before starting preschool, Tyler was just learning to talk. About a month or two in, he really started talking a lot more. Preschool also made him more confident around other children. Before school, if we would go to a party with other children, he would just cling to us. Once he learned how to play and interact with other children,
Tyler we all started enjoying parties more since he would go play allowing us time to talk with other adults. In my opinion, the socialization and practical skills they learn in preschool are much more important than their ABCs, etc.
Listen to Others
It’s always said that children tend to listen to everyone else better than they do their parents. In some ways, this is annoying since I deal with them the most. But on the other hand, I’m glad to know that they behave well for others. When they are at preschool, mommy and daddy aren’t there. They have to learn to take direction from other adults and keep in line with the class assignments. In preschool, they don’t have a lot of assignments, but it’s good practice for when they are in grade school and have in-class assignments. And I know it’s a long ways away, but eventually when they have a job, they will still have to answer to someone.
Tyler would tell me all the time how much fun he has at school because they do different crafts and projects than we do at home. The preschool teachers are constantly coming up with new ways to teach and reinforce a lesson, such as making paper jellyfish when they were working on the letter J. The school my boys go to has a playground in the back, so they will go outside and play at least once per week. School has different toys than we do at home. Ryan hasn’t started school yet, but whenever he has gone to Tyler’s classroom for class parties or events, he always has a great time there as well.
Fine & Gross Motor Skills
Those fun projects and crafts that I mentioned they do? They are all designed to help with either fine motor skills, gross motor skills, or both. One day per week Tyler has “Music & Movement” class for 30 minutes. This class is all about exploring music and gross motor skills. They’ve done everything from playing different instruments to preparing for their Christmas performance to coloring on a huge box bigger than the kids to playing with a parachute. Some of the other activities are picking up cotton balls with a clothespin to work on fine motor skills, painting with an orange, and other fun things that they don’t usually do at home.
More than anything, preschool helps get them out of the house. Since Justin and I both work from home, the boys are in the house a lot. We try to get them outside and go different places, but we also have to be conscious of how much time those things take because if we aren’t working, we aren’t making money. The preschool the boys attend is going to be three days per week this year (the last two years Tyler has only gone two days per week) and they will be there for 4 hours a day. For us, it’s the perfect amount to get them out of the house, and give us a few hours of quiet time to get some work done. It gives us all a chance to get a break from each other, which can be needed some days. Parenting is exhausting. To have that small break, but know they are still being cared for, is great for all of us. At first, it was hard to let them go, but I know they are in good hands. We all feel very comfortable at their school.