Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Light at the End of the Tunnel

It's been a while since I've posted, and that's been for good reason. Summer got in the way. Having two children around all the time pretty much precludes writing in any way. Also, I was waiting until I had something of note to say. Given the preschool thing hadn't yet begun, I guess I was on pins and needles, wondering what would happen.

Turns out things are going well.

I used a period at the end of that sentence as opposed to an exclamation point because, considering my own feelings and my little one's, one of us is happy and the other merely satisfied. Before I get into the details, I suppose a recap is in order.

When last we "spoke" on the subject, my son had not been admitted to the preschool of my choice. I was left to scramble to find one that met his needs. Given his reaction to being left alone in classroom during his test visit (can you say "severe meltdown?"), I needed a place that would allow me to accompany him to school until he was ready for me to exit. It became my top priority, and I found that place. It's a nice place, clean and pretty. And it's a school which follows the opposite philosophy from where I originally intended him to go.

So remember that all this time I've been accompanying my little one to school every day. All day. Try sitting in a classroom watching an educational philosophy in action that you don't identify with. It was difficult to hold my tongue! I won't go into too much detail here because the school itself is well intended. It's doing all the things it's supposed to be doing, both by school standards and in accordance with its overall philosophy. Plus, it's not all bad. Parts of their philosophy make a lot of sense. All in all I'm grateful for the outcome.

It's important to note that this school is able to provide one thing that not many other places do around here: They let me wean him off my presence gently thanks to their child-led policy. I started by staying with him the entire day. I did that for two whole weeks, at which point he began to wander away from me. I was envisioning having to do this all year until one day he suddenly sought the company of other children and began asking teachers for help rather than me. At that point I left 20 minutes early to get the car and wait in the carpool line while he played outside with the class. He held it together! So the next day I left a little earlier. And so on, until my little one and I talked about it and he said he was ready to go to school without me. That day was yesterday, and guess what... no tears! None. Just smiles.

Phew!

I'm deeply grateful for the gift this school has given us. My son is discovering all the wonderful things school has to offer. And he is growing emotionally and personally. It's why I wanted him in school in the first place. Turns out I was right about one thing. He is ready for school. He just needed a little help getting there.