My 3 year old baby, Kelsey, had her first day of preschool today. A few months ago we found out that the school district we live in has an early education program. It’s only 10 hours a week and there is a fee for it but it is very affordable and right around the corner.
We decided it would be good for Kelsey to start getting the idea of how it function in a classroom setting. So far everything she’s been to has been minimally structured and she could come and go from what interested her. Unfortunately, she’s the kid standing in the front of the librarian at story time. We think she needs to start experiencing listening to other authority figures, stopping and starting activities as directed, and getting a little bit more formal learning environment.
In addition, it gives me a little one on one time with Aubrey. When I was pregnant I was concerned that Aubrey may not get some of the experiences that Kelsey got being our only child at the time. I’ll have a little scheduled time to do some Mommy and Me activities in addition to getting some errands done.
We couldn’t put her paperwork in until she actually turned 3 at the beginning of January then we had to wait to see if a slot opened up. We finally got word that she had an AM preschool spot and we got to prepping. We bought her a backpack and had her name embroidered onto it. I made labels to sew into her coats for school (directions from Ever Clever Mom). We met with her teacher and bought the items on the supply list.
All we had to do was wait and see what the weather would be like come Monday morning. With all the freezing temperatures and snow, if the district calls a 2 hour delay then there is no AM preschool. It was freezing that morning, but no delays. So, I got everyone dressed and we headed out the door.
I had to get a pass to walk her in for her first day and then we got buzzed in to the preschool area. She walked in like she owned the place and teachers already knew her name. She stood where she was told to by her teacher and after a few minutes, her teacher told her “OK, say goodbye to Mommy.” I guess that was my cue it was time for me to leave.
I got Aubrey back to the car and sat in drivers and it hit me. My baby was a little girl now. I’ve left her at daycare for much longer in a day. She goes to child watch at the Y regularly. So why was this so different? This is going to be regular. This is the start of the long run towards kindergarten, elementary, middle, high school, clubs, competitions, sports, etc. and, even though I have been looking forward to her getting to do new things, I just wanted time to stop for a minute and I didn’t want her to get any older anymore.
She has her first field trip in a few weeks. Of everything, this makes me the most nervous. It’s one thing to leave her inside a locked building for a few hours. It’s another to let strangers take your child somewhere out into the world. A lot more baby steps for me then for Kelsey. When I left today, she just said “Bye, Mommy!”
She had a great time and did very well. She was all smiles when I picked her up. I love that they send home the lesson plan for the week so I know what she’s learning about and can reinforce it at home. I am happy that they have opportunities to go on field trips and have class parties. In the long run, I still believe this will be great for Kelsey. Now, how will I be? It may take me a few weeks (I’ll just be driving up and dropping her off tomorrow) but I think it will be good for me, too.