Friday, October 12, 2007

Preschool, here we come!

I've been on the fence, a lot, about whether to send Miss E to preschool or not. If we lived in Ireland, she'd be off to nursery school at 3, and starting proper Primary School at 4, and this wouldn't cost me a second thought.

Living here however and understanding that some kids don't start formal education (Kindergarten) until they are almost 6 - I guess I bought into the idea that I shouldn't be sending her off to school too soon. She only turns 3 next week, and I do after all stay at home, why can't I just create the preschool environment for her here?

Well, let me chat about that last sentence first shall I? I can't create that environment for her because I have another child, one that lately has been dragged all around the medical place, and Miss E along with us because since we are so far from family, and most people I would trust, work, there are very few people I can leave her with. Secondly, my patience evapourates when Miss E loses interest in any particular activity (which is generally after a maximum of a minute and a half)and I give up. Add to this the fact that during the day the whining and the carrying on drives me nuts to the point that it's just a whole lot easier to let Big Bird teach her her letters!

We explored the option of preschool in the summer when all the schools were enrolling for the new school year. I limited my search to those providers within easy driving distance but was not impressed with either quality or cost. And so, I convinced myself, she didn't need it and I'd keep her home with me for another year before attempting 'school'.

Miss E is bright and she's energetic, and she's bossy. At her two year check up her doctor told me 'she's a smart kid, don't let her get bored or she will drive you crazy'. This is the point we are at right now. This combined with a not so great stay at my friends house the other day where she basically bullied my friend's twins, has left us confounded as to what to do and how best to help her mix and behave with other kids, her peers. Wise suggestions from my mother, a preschool educator in the past, and friends who've had their kids in preschool started to filter in and have us revisit the idea.

Miss E is a delight. She makes me laugh every single day. She amazes me with her speech and her topics of conversation. She is moving into a phase now where it is so much fun to see her and her brother interact and have fun, together. However, she can be challenging in other ways. She has a temper, and she has a hard time with the concept of 'no' regardless of whether she hears it from a peer or an adult. Disciplining her is hard, but we try to remain consistent and have constantly told her that hands are not for hitting, and that if she's frustrated she must use her words to explain how she feels, and not lash out. This has been frustrating for us because it seems like she takes none of it in. This leads to embarrassment on my part when she acts out in front of friends and their kids, or as happened at J's birthday weekend where she took it out on my cousin's kids.

I had an appointment with the director of a fantastic preschool this morning. It is a bit of a drive for us but we went to check it out. I told Miss E we were just going to have a look today and she stormily responded 'I don't want to just look! I want to stay and listen to the teacher!'. A promising sentiment of course, but the manner in which it was delivered had me worried about how this meeting would go.

I need not have worried.

From the instant we arrived at this school Miss E was beyond excited, and chomping at the bit to get inside and look around. We met with the director who showed us their VPK classrooms, and the other classrooms for the younger kids. The only spot that is available is in the 3.5 to 4 year old class. We were invited to check the place out today with the guarded condition that we see how Miss E reacted to this environment, and for the director to gauge if she would be ready for a class with slightly older kids.

As soon as Miss E saw the open door of the VPK classroom she waltzed right in like she was born to it. Her confident, enthusiastic attitude literally gave me goose pimples, not least because she is the polar opposite of the shy child I remember myself being. It was as if she was saying to the world 'Hey, it's school, here I am - I'm READY!' On seeing this, the director immediately said 'I think someone is ready for school' I could have hugged her. The director has no reservations whatsoever about Miss E slotting into the group with the slightly older kids.

All the kids from the various classrooms were moving outside for some playground time so Miss E happily went along with them so I could fill in the paperwork inside. The director was careful to explain to Miss E where the teachers were, and showed her the window through which she could see Mommy - Miss E could have cared less where I was, and while I can pretend that this hurt me, it didn't because I am genuinely thrilled that she is excited about this place, and that the director and the teachers were so welcoming. I chatted some more with the director and the teachers about how things go and I am more than delighted that we've got Miss E in here. This preschool is annexed to a Church, and they have such a loving, safe and caring environment and they strive above all to make learning fun, and make it a place where the kids want to be. Who could ask for more?

Starting the first week in November, my big girl is headed to preschool. Three days a week, three hours each day. One day a month I will volunteer and help out in her class so I'll get to see what their routine is and the kinds of activities she's doing.

Can you tell I'm excited about this? I'm excited for Miss E first and foremost I have a gut feeling that this will be very, very good for her. I'm excited for Baby J because he'll get to have me to himself for a while, something that at 12 months he has yet to experience. And, I am excited for me, too and I don't feel guilty anymore for saying that.

Preschool! Here. We. Come!


Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

Annie, that's great! That must make you feel good about your decision, since Miss E is so excited and ready!

Julie Pippert said...

I'm so glad it all went so well and you found a good spot for her!! Here's to November!

Like you, we need preschool here. I have the two Bright and Creative Sisters on board and like your doctor said, it's BAD news if they get bored. (I could link to any number of blog posts and photos at this point about that LOL!)

So preschool keeps us all happy (the right you know from my post LOL).

I hope you'll post about her starting!

And again, so glad it's a good school and you feel so good about it and she enjoyed it. :)

Using My Words

Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck said...

I am so happy for you all. Its definitely a great move--and it sounds like Miss E is more than ready! Congrats!

Momo Fali said...

Yes! I'm excited for you too! It certainly sounds like she's ready!

Anonymous said...

All Right!!!

Great news. She IS ready!

And so are you! I'm excited for you both.

Just be prepared for a tired chicky after school. And short fuses all least until you both get adjusted to the change...

Hmmm can you tell, that's where I'm at right now?

dawn224 said...

*yes* what a fantastic day!

Christine said...

Annie, that's fantastic!

My daughter started preschool last month. She loves Miss E, I think she needs it. My son, he never went to preschool...just jumped into Kindergarten when he was 5. That was the path best for him. Everyone's one route is best for everyone. Good for you for bucking the trend!

Feener said...

awesome !! sounds like she is ready and so are you. Sass started this year as well, she was 3 in august. it is the BEST thing that we could be doing for her and for me. sass needs to be challenged and entertained. so happy you found a place you like.

andi said...

You will love it! Elliot is in nursery school two days a week for 2 hours and I love the alone time (well, alone with the baby - it's still quiet). Miss E and Elliot sound so much alike. She also gets bored at home and starts to drive me crazy so I've found school to be very good for her.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Congratulations to you both. It's a small step towards her independence but she sounds like she's ready.

Iota said...

Sounds great. Sounds like she'll love it.

Has anyone mentioned to you, just so you know, that sometimes children settle really easily, and then have a reaction 2 or 3 weeks down the line, when it suddenly dawns on them "yikes, I'm here and Mummy isn't". The preschool my son went to called it the realisation blues.

Just warning you in case it happens, so it doesn't surprise you, but she sounds a pretty independent little girl.

Thanks for your comment on my blog, by the way. It made a lot of sense.

pinks & blues girls said...

It really sounds like a perfect fit all around!

Jane, Pinks & Blues

Christine said...

PS...tagged you for a meme (*running away*)'re it!

Serina Hope said...

I think she'll have a great time. It sounds like she can't wait.

Brillig said...

Okay, that's awesome! I've really watched my kiddos bloom in preschool. I don't know yet if it's the "right choice" for all of my kids, but for my oldest two who've been through it now, they've had an awesome experience.

Go, Miss E! Woohooo!

Self employed mum said...

Fantastic news sound like you all need it. Time alone with Baby J and you can appreciate him too. Where I live we had playgroup from 2, I put my son in 2 mornings a week and he cried everyday he didn't go, so straight up to 4 mornings he went. Once he was 3 he went to nursery 5 mornings and back to the playgroup for 2 afternoons, he loved it. He is a very clever boy and needed the stimulation that a tired mother of a 3 yo and a 1 yo couldn't always provide. I then got to spend time with my baby daughter and her little personality could shine through. Quite often Barney was our teacher. x

Annette Lyon said...

Congrats! I swear, it's amazing how much energy we moms put into every decision. Glad you found something that really works for your daughter--and you.

Bananas said...

Oh I am SO happy that you found such a perfect place. Putting CJ in preschool was the best thing I ever did. For him, for me, for our relationship... I have so much more patience when I get to have some time away from him!

slackermommy said...

It's good you are trusting your mommy gut and following her lead. She certainly seems ready.

Mom Chatter said...

Congratulations on making such a BIG decision. I look forward to hearing how it goes for you! ...AND I want to thank you for helping me to realize that we should really check into preschool for our little guy! :)

BTW... I don't think I realized how close in age our children were. I have a little guy who turned 3 in May and a little gal who turned 1 in August. Looks like we have lots of the same craziness going on in our households!! :)