Fall is here and someone just started preschool! Up until now, she has been home with one or both of us. So this is a big transition for everyone. As with most (all?) of the big transitions she has been through, Mia handled it with ease and grace. (And I managed to hold back all but a few tears, which thankfully escaped Mia’s awareness while hidden behind my sunglasses.)
As all parents do, we think education is kind of important: We’ve been thinking about educational options since before we decided to get knocked up! I remember one colleague with two high-school aged children telling me to figure out what school district we wanted and to move there NOW; I was five months pregnant at the time. We have thought about public schools (after all we are both products of public school and look at how we turned out!), but sadly none of those provide everything we’re looking for. Yes, we are picky. No, I am not going to apologize for being picky. There are some good charter school options, and we may consider those at some point down the road. And we’ve even considered homeschooling or unschooling. (I know, most of you are thinking: “Whoa! That is totally out there!” But I am trying to ease you into the idea so be prepared because we have yet to completely rule that out for middle school and/or high school.)
For now, though, Mia has clearly expressed interest going to school with other kids. And she has been making her wishes clear for quite awhile now. Fortunately, back in the day, we had already set our sights on our preferred preschool/elementary school: a private Montessori school within walking distance to our house. In fact, this particular school was one of the major factors that influenced our decision to return back to this country and city. So here we are and here is Mia on her first day at school:
Her first couple of weeks have been fabulous. Both Mama and Papa went with her to drop her off and pick her up from class the first day. When we arrived on campus, one little boy was hanging on the inside of the fence, having a total meltdown and yelling frantically for his parents (poor guy!); Mia was definitely concerned and asking why he was so sad. Turns out that kid is in her class and, fortunately for everyone, he got over it pretty quickly (there was no wailing when we were in the entry to her class). I think she picked up on my apprehension because at one point, she asked “Where are you going?” but she was fine with our answer (to work and then back soon to pick you up!). She didn’t shed a tear when we left, instead she happily walked into the classroom with one of her teachers. She did cry the first day, but it was only when we came to pick her up, after she realized we were going home! She didn’t want to leave. So we took that as a good sign.
She has been super excited to go to school every day since, but now she tells me “Mama, I am so glad you came to pick me up.” and on non-school days, “Mama, I am so glad we get to hang out all day today!”.
So now she is in preschool, and she is experiencing and learning different things in a different environment. I think the negotiation and people skills are some of the most valuable things she will learn in that environment, things that I (we) can’t teach her alone. And I am sure there are many more things that she will learn more readily there than with us alone.
Think about a child’s education when they are almost three years old: their education is already well under way, and they are CONSTANTLY learning. It is the environment that we chose for them that dictates what and how they learn. Do we want our children to be exposed to television and video games, mainstream media, violence and guns, and unkind people? Do we want to treat them like children that cannot think or do things for themselves? My answer is NO!!!! (Heck, I don’t even want to be exposed to that crap!) Alas, we can’t put our kids in a bubble and protect them from those things forever but while they are so young and easily influenced, I will do my damnedest!! And I am confident that this school will help us with our goal.
So Mia’s education continues, now in school and as always, away from school with our usual activities…
Here’s to everyone’s continuing education!