He’s Letting Go … Of Me and Preschool

charlie and shane grassiWest-Side-Nursery-QuoteI picked up my twins at West Side Nursery School today. When we crossed the street to where my car was parked, Charlie held onto my hand, but Shane dropped it as soon as his foot hit the far curb, the preschool at his back. They are six years old, already in Kindergarten, but because of the 1/2 day-K situation in our town, spend a couple of afternoons “enriching” their education in the building that first introduced them to group learning. In elementary school, compared to the big, bad fifth graders, they look like babies. But here at West Side, they are the tough, cool seniors comfortable in their home away from home and confident in their position ruling the school. I guess even mini-Seniors drop their mom’s hand in public.

Shane lets go of me, trusting I will be there the moment he reaches up again, the second he needs me. Soon, he and his brother will be letting go of their little school forever. I can only hope as they move on, the lessons they learned at Westside will be as easily accessible and dependable as my outstretched hand. In little chairs, in criss-cross applesauce on small mats, in circles outlined by fidgety toddlers, in plastic kitchens, in fenced-in playgrounds and in imaginary cities made of wooden blocks, they learned things more important than anything they have yet to learn. Yes, they learned to count and read. They learned the calendar and the weather. They sang songs and created artistic masterpieces. With brains like sponges, their IQ improved leaps and bounds, and this is no small accomplishment. I am thankful for all the hard work and dedication required to increase my sons’ knowledge. More importantly though, this school nurtured their EQ.

In preschool, Charlie and Shane learned to wait their turn and be patient. They learned to listen when others are speaking and the importance of respect. They learned mean words hurt more than a skinned knee, and a few kind words can go a long way. They learned life has rules and everyone is happier when the rules are being followed. They learned to sneeze in their sleeve, wash their hands, clean up their messes, listen to directions, sip slowly, give thanks before a meal, look at things from different angles, share their toys and say they are sorry.

I will forever be grateful to the staff at West Side who taught my kids how to be a productive part of a community, who inspired a love of learning and who made them feel safe and valued every day. I will cherish many years’ worth of homemade gifts with tiny — and more recently not so tiny — handprints, but the true and irreplaceable gift is the impression this nursery school leaves on my children’s character. Someday, when they are in need of the kind of help my outstretched hand cannot provide, I know they will be able to reach within and find the answer in the most basic and beautiful things they learned in the colorful, kind classrooms of West Side.

For more about preschool, see “3 Things to Avoid on the First Day of Preschool.”

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at drkarenlatimer@gmail.com to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.


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