Thursday, September 16, 2010

First day of school, #3

Today Nicholas finally got to start school! He's started in a new preschool this year, where Kieran attended. Hard-core parent cooperative types apparently call this school "coop light," because although parent involvement is required, it's not nearly as intensive as at some cooperative preschools. We loved the full-scale parent coop experience with Christopher, but we had only one child at the time. We made wonderful, lasting connections with families in the area; however, it was A LOT of work. Although we planned to return there, our plans changed when we discovered Nicholas was on his way. 

I love it when our sons can benefit from the same great teachers as their brothers could. Nicholas has the same amazing preschool teachers as Kieran (just as Kieran has Chris' wonderful second-grade teacher!), which is also fun for us.

Last year, Nicholas attended preschool for "2-1/2-year-olds" (since he didn't turn 3 until after the cut-off), and he had only 5 or 6 kids in his class. This year he has 18 kids, although the adult-child ratio is still very low with four adults in the classroom. Oddly enough, last year's preschool was a bit more academically focused (?), with much more focus on the children learning their letters and numbers. In fact, the mom of Nick's friend decided to keep her child in that preschool instead of moving to this one (where her older son attended) because she wanted that academic focus. Mike and I, however, believe in learning concepts through play at this age.

After having one child who learned to read at a very early age (Chris), and one child who was slower in learning (Kieran), I know that they all learn to read at a different time...and it doesn't really matter. This preschool will better prepare Nicholas for kindergarten. It has a larger class, more experienced teachers, and more cool things to do! And a library in the same building!

I got to be a parent-helper today. They split up the kids the first week, so only nine kids attended today, with four adults in the classroom. Amazingly, not one child cried about being away from parents. The kids are so cute...I can't wait to see their progress throughout the next two years. Clearly, they have a lot to learn about being in school...but they all seem like very sweet kids.

Best thing about preschool for Nick? Painting and art projects!

Another thing I like about this school--every day they have several different creative activities for the kids. Today it was making a joint class painting with kitchen gadgets!
I was supervising the painting area, and I found it fascinating to watch how differently most of the little boys and girls approached their painting. The girls--in general--were far more deliberate and careful, while the boys threw themselves into their painting and used much broader strokes. Testosterone at work?

During snack time, a little girl at our table made the "shh" sign to Nicholas because he was talking so loudly!

And Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads...of which I do not have to keep track of all the parts!!!
 Nick had a great day. At just over age 4, he's one of the tallest and oldest in his class...but in some ways he seems younger than Kieran did when he started there at age 3-1/2. As Mike pointed out to me the other day, Kieran often wants to be older, while Nick wants to stay the baby (he still indulges in baby talk, for example). He's a true youngest child.

I feel fortunate that I got to glimpse his first day at school, and I hope I made the transition to a new school a little easier on him. I know he will have a fun year!

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