So last Monday it happened. My sweet sassy Cedella Monkey started preschool. ::deep breath::
She picked her own outfit and got up that morning with a smile and ate her breakfast and couldn’t wait to go to school.
This smile…it just does me in. She’s gorgeous.
Then we arrived and saw the new set up at our favorite place in Lansing…Play. If you haven’t heard me gush about Play before, check out their bday party posts HERE and HERE. Or just check out all the amazing new things happening there on the updated website HERE.
Our favorite indoor play place has evolved into an awesome hands-on preschool haven. You can see just how excited Ella was to see this new classroom space.
She took to this invitation immediately and made both me and her Dad pictures before we left that morning.
Here I was beginning to doubt whether she was ready, or if it was too much time or too many days (3 morning, 3 hours a day) and here she was…SO ready to be there, to be learning, to be around other adults and children. ::deeper breath:: Asking us if we were going to leave and take Izzie with us already.
Here we are, on a hazy, damp Monday morning, bringing the kids to Play, it felt totally natural. And I couldn’t help the tears that welled up in my eyes as we left, without Cedella. And I’d like to brush it off and say it’s just silly Mom hormones or sentimentality. But it’s not. This is a legit moment of loss. She will never NOT be in school again. This day marks the first time for the rest of her childhood that she will be in school. It’s just so…final. She is growing and I am losing a little bit of her time and her attention and her neediness and it just hurts in my heart.
But if she had to leave me, if she had to go anywhere I’m glad she’s with Kasey and Jessica all morning. They are so kind and loving towards her and they trust her and boost her confidence in so many ways. And I know that we made the right decision to put her in school there.
Why is preschool such a hard decision? After all, it’s only PREschool, right? Then why does it feel like it’s the first big decision you have to make regarding your child’s entire educational journey? What do you look for in a preschool? Should the focus be on playing or should there be a strong focus on pre-K skills?
For us the most important aspect of preschool was the philosophy that children learn through exploring and playing in the environment they are in. Something that was really important to me was not a strict “sit down and write letters” classroom but one that allowed kids to investigate and explore whatever they’re interested in and help them learn through those interests.
I know a lot of people that have had their kids in daycare/nursery school from a very young age, and others that won’t be putting their kids in any formal schooling for a long time, if ever. But for us, we knew that Ella’s naturally curious mind needed more stimulation than what I was capable of providing at home.
She is a social girl who loves to be with other children and adults and in one short week it’s obvious that this is exactly what she needed to blossom even further. She has new friends and looks after Miss Jessica’s 1 yr old daughter and helps diffuse her little buddies arguments. She is incredible in so many ways. But in this, in doing something she’s never done, in facing the challenge head on and with a smile on her face, she amazes me.
There’s something I say to Cedella every night before she sleeps or that I make her say when she spends the night somewhere that I borrowed from The Help (with my own little addition at the end).
“You’re kind, you’re smart and you’re important and one day you’re going to change the world. I am so proud to be your mommy and I’m so thankful that you are my daughter. Mommy and Daddy and Izzie love you to the moon and back”.
Those words have never been more true than that morning, knowing that as she took one step away from me, my heart string pulled back one million times to remind her that I’ll always be there and I’m forever proud. Always. Forever.
Now excuse me while I go find a box of Kleenex and blow my nose…I’m crying all over again
Tell me it gets easier the older they get? What was your child’s first day of school like?
Linking up with my dear Diana at Diana Wrote for this little Glimpse into what our week was like…you can check out Diana’s week and more HERE.