A morning just a few months ago at exactly 7:35 AM, I stood at the end of our driveway at our New York house, waiting for our daughter-in-law, Amy, to pick me up. It was just like I was back to being a young kid, waiting for the bus to school. But I am not the student; our grandson Ryan is the Preschool student. Amy drives Ryan to Four year old Preschool each morning and then after school the bus drops him off at the end of his driveway at precisely 10:35. I am so excited and happy that Ryan is in a Preschool program. Of course, I am a great cheerleader for Preschool and all it can offer children and parents. I retired a year ago after living the joyful life of a Preschool teacher for thirty of my thirty-five years of teaching.
Pulling in the reins and stopping my inquisitive mind is difficult as I, Amy (Momma) Daddy, Papa Paul, baby brother Callum and even once, Great Grandma Anne, greet Ryan as he steps off the bus. I just want to hear ALL about the morning – his morning and how he has perceived the experiences his teacher presented. Ryan hasn’t had many social times with other children during his first four years. He is a farm boy growing up in an environment rich with adult conversations with Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunt Rachael, and of course, Mommy and Daddy. So the classroom is a new land he is discovering.
One of the soothing and comforting things that Amy did for Ryan, to ease his transition from home to school, was to put into his backpack a page of family photographs. While at school whenever he experienced the feelings of sadness and the thoughts that tears might be coming soon, Ryan could go to his backpack and look at those photos of all those people who love him so much.
The great turning point for Ryan came a few weeks ago when he told his Momma that he didn’t need that family photograph page in his backpack. He hadn’t had tears at school for quite awhile he said. What a wonderful feeling for him, and of course his family, that tremendous growth had taken place in this little guy of only four years old. He felt secure and more confident in the school environment.
Ryan has taken his first big step into Preschool and he is doing well. His confidence and self assurance are growing. I will be excited to see his next big step.