By: Cathy Hwang
Yes, you got that right. I’m talking about my experience as a first time mom in a preschool. Everyone talks about what a child’s first day in school is like, but what about for us moms? Parents? Some of us are first-timers, too!
Let me tell you a little bit about myself: I am a licensed professional teacher with a major in Early Childhood Education, but hardly any of that mattered when I became a mom. Every theory or philosophy I learned about in college was debunked when I had my own baby. How could I resist that cute face whenever she did something wrong? How can I stop saying “NO” when I’m busy juggling work, chores and a baby who is just so curious about everything?! Tell me! I’m all ears!
Just like most first-time mothers, I became an overprotective mom. I was scared of viruses, germs, and loud noises that would affect my little one until I realized that she needed some of these experiences to adapt to the world. After realizing this, that’s when I started letting go.
She needed the “good” kind of germs so she wouldn’t be prone to sickness. I needed to bring her out of our home because I noticed that she was not used to other people. I needed to boost her social skills, and as an educator and a newbie mom, I believe that social skills is a major factor on why a child should enroll in a preschool that is safe and friendly.
From my experience as a preschool teacher, I have witnessed how my students learned from one another. How they were amazingly able to learn language from one another. How they learned to share, help, and cope. Some parents would even say that they have a hard time feeding their kids at home, but it is such a breeze when in school because they see their classmates eating, too. Children learn from one another, and enrolling them in a preschool allows them to experience this. Money’s worth, indeed.
So, here is why I decided to enroll my daughter in a Pre-Toddler class: I noticed that she wasn’t as friendly to other people. She would even cry by just being in the presence of others (who weren’t really talking to her!) As a teacher, I knew I needed to boost her self-esteem, and through experience, I know that allowing her to socialize with kids her age will help aide this behavior. Children are our best teachers!
To be honest, I did not know what to expect on her first day of school since all kids react differently. But boy, oh boy, when she lit up upon entering the school for the first time, how I wished I could see the world again through the eyes of a child. I thought she will be overwhelmed with the new environment, but she seemed to love it! The friendliest school staff greeted her too – not in a way that she would be overwhelmed, but the right amount of excitement, I think.
Back when I was still teaching, I had some suspicions that the pre-toddler class was not necessary, as it only catered to babies that are so young – 10 months to 1.5 years old. That was until I witnessed how much smoother the transition was for Pre-Toddler kids when they moved up to the Toddler class. In comparison, the students who enrolled straight into the Toddler or Nursery levels seemed to take a longer time to adjust to the new school set-up. I believe that exposing young learners to the people and environment in school will help them easily adjust to the school’s regular programming. During that point in my life, I knew that I would definitely enroll my future children in this class – and so I did. 🙂
The smile on my daughter’s face every time she enters the school is extraordinary. She’s always excited to interact with the school staff and her classmates. She was even able to memorize some of the actions they sing during Circle Time. Even her love for books grew stronger because of the Story Time. But you know what amazed me the most? Her demeanor towards other people. She became more open to interacting with others – especially kids! In her own little way, she was already learning about the world.
In the end, I don’t believe enrolling a child early in preschool will “burn them out” or lead them to be bored of school in the future. As long as the school teaches in a way where there is no pressure on them. In the Pre-Toddler class, there is just the right amount of academics and social interaction. It is learning through play at its finest! Can’t wait for our next class. 🙂