I used to be a pre-school teacher. Years ago, when I was living in Japan. Before kids.
I taught the 2-3 year olds, and at another school I taught the toddlers. I always thought it was cruel when parents would send their kids to preschool/nursery/daycare. That is, until I started teaching.
I loved preschool teaching. I could do it as a career, if only I didn’t have to constantly worry about James’s needs.
From 15 months of age, children are sponges. They absorb everything that you tell them, and everything that you show them. It is a wonderful age in the life of a child. Many of the things that they learn at this age stay with them for life.
My children have all gone to daycare/preschool/nursery from the time they were 18mths-2years. Even though I am a stay-at-home-mum, I choose to send Saraya and Patrick to “school”. Patrick goes 4 days a week, and Saraya goes 5 days. That might sound extreme to some, but believe me when I say that Saraya would love to go EIGHT days a week if she could – she thrives on school. And Paddy is much the same. I don’t feel guilty at all.
Each day, they come home singing songs from the days’ programme, or present me with a stunning piece of art that they put all their love and thought into. I’m not an arty person, so it’s great that they are in an environment that encourages that. Saraya learns Japanese, and this year Paddy will start Japanese lessons as well. Already, he mimics his sister and sings both the Good morning song and the rainbow song in Japanese. Even though we lived in Japan for 4 years, I only learnt enough Japanese to get me home in a taxi cab. I could never have taught the kids Japanese myself.
Saraya’s best friend at school is Miyana. It just happens that she’s Japanese, which is why I am even keener for Saraya to keep learning the language. Her other best friend is Talia. They are the Three Musketeers, as Saraya calls themselves. Every morning, she dresses herself, choosing the most beautiful dresses from her wardrobe, and adding her tiara as the finishing touch. Most days, she dresses for school like she’s going to a birthday party – very girly and very “pretty”. I love that she makes her own decisions about what to wear. Independence in a 3 year old isn’t such a bad thing.
Paddy’s best friend is Cooper, though Paddy calls him “Pooper” – we’re still working on his “C” sounds. Haha. He spends most of his playtime riding around on the “red scooter bike” and he fights other kids off for it.
Every afternoon, when I pick the kids up, they see me come through the door and rush over, knocking over any kid in their way, running into my arms and giving me the biggest welcome hug they can. I love that moment. I love hearing about their day, I love hearing them sing new songs, and I love the art pieces that they bring home. But most of all I love seeing how happy they are at school, how much they have grown, how much they have learnt, and how capable they are becoming.
And the way I see it, it is setting them up for big school very nicely.
Aahhh, my babies aren’t babies anymore.