Not all preschools work out. Some are mediocre, others are awful, and a handful are amazing. And while there’s definitely an across-the-board standard for certain aspects, there’s also a good amount of personal preference that determines whether you love or hate any particular school. Except ones that practice poor hygiene. You should probably just run away if you ever find one with poop smeared across the walls. Probably. But when you find one that fits your family’s needs, values, and beliefs, sending your kids to preschool can be pretty great.
Let me stop right here and say that it broke my heart to send my daughter to preschool when she was a baby. I wanted nothing more than to stay home with her myself, but, as we all know, life doesn’t always care what we want and it just wasn’t possible for my family. That being said, I shed many tears dropping her off at a mediocre daycare before moving her to the school we now know and love. In fact, when her younger brother enrolled at the same school, no tears were shed; this time I was simply leaving him with our extended family.
So, in an effort to always remain positive, I’d like to share a few reasons why I love sending my kids to preschool.
1. They get to be kids. Sometimes it feels like I spend more time scolding my kids (you know, the usual phrases like “Stop jumping on your brother’s head” and “No swinging from the ceiling fan”) than I do just letting them play and explore. At preschool, they get to bask in the glory of toys and puzzles and exploration and imagination in a safe environment without an exhausted mom bringing them down (or one who can’t help but think about the clean-up that will be involved with shaving cream play).
2. They get to make friends. I’ll admit that I’ve been known to peek into my kids’ classrooms to watch them play with their classmates. Building friendships is important and it makes me so proud to watch my children sharing toys without having to prompt them. Watching them laugh at another kid’s joke or run around playing dress-up reminds me that while we try to be and do everything for our kids, they need those unique interactions and relationships that come from outside the family.
3. They get to play outside. In the summer months here in the Tampa Bay area, it gets hot. You already know that. So with a backyard that gets baked every day with absolutely no shade, it can be challenging to get the kids outside to run and play once we’re home. There are parks, but it just doesn’t always work out. But at school, they have a huge shaded playground with the types of toys and climb-ons and ride-ons and pretend play that make me a little envious as an adult. I take comfort knowing they get to enjoy this experience every single day.
4. They get to be creative. There’s something special about watching my 17 month old son put his hand in paint and gently press it onto a piece of paper. The kid’s had practice! In fact, when I tried to get crafty making a Christmas gift for my husband, the hand print I “helped” my daughter make was awful. I didn’t know what I was doing. But she took charge on the next one and it came out pretty great. I just love the projects their teachers help them create. It’s a huge gift to those of us who lack the time and skill to make adorable homemade crafts. We may not have been part of the process, but we’re able to cherish those little foot print school buses for years to come.
5. They get to learn. I’m constantly trying to teach my kids important life lessons. But let’s be honest; sometimes they’re watching and listening and absorbing my pearls of wisdom and sometimes they’re daydreaming of Buzz Lightyear and ice cream cones (or whatever else toddlers think about). Preschool is a great place for them to get an extra boost of the knowledge we instill at home. Plus, sometimes they just need to hear the same thing from someone else before they’ll really hear it (or accept it as truth).
6. They get to gain independence. One undeniable thing about preschool is that there isn’t enough manpower for each child to have one teacher assigned solely to them. It just isn’t possible. And thank goodness for that! Since, depending on the number of kids you have, this may not necessarily be the case at home, preschool allows an excellent opportunity for little ones to accept that they’re not the center of the universe and to begin to develop their independence.
7. They get to experience Christianity. This one isn’t for everyone, I know. But my kids go to a Christian preschool that shares the same values and beliefs as my family. What I love most about it is that they come home singing worship songs and my daughter asks for her toddler Bible by name. We don’t always make it to church on Sunday, but I take comfort knowing they’re experiencing God every day.
What do you love most about your kids’ preschool?