We're doing a co-op preschool, which means that the parents help run things and that keeps costs down so it's much more affordable. So I'm the class secretary and I work in the classroom helping Gareth's teacher, Teacher Lauren, every Tuesday. The preschool is through one of the community colleges, so we have parent education classes every month and I'll take the minutes and attendance at those. Apparently there's a bunch of stuff I was supposed to get from the outgoing secretary, but never did. We've finally been put in contact, so hopefully I'll get that soon and can have a better idea of what I'm doing.
Gareth has been very excited to start school. Teacher Lauren sent everyone a postcard a few weeks before school started and I had to read that several times a day for a few days until he forgot about it on top of my dresser. Then last week he had a tour of the classroom with Teacher Lauren. He wasn't quite as social as he normally is, I'm guessing because there is so much to take in in the classroom. So many new things to look at and so many cool toys and whatnot to play with. Then today he was running around waiting for the last few minutes to pass before we could leave, and he ran into the cardboard box that has been his "house" in our living room the past few weeks. And had a total meltdown, sobbing about how his house was broken and he didn't want it to be broken (even though it really didn't sustain too much damage) and you would have thought the world had ended if you'd been here. Thankfully he was pretty chipper again as soon as we set off for school.
His friend that we've been getting together with all summer is in his class, so they spent most of the time together. Gareth is one of just a handful of new kids - all the rest are moving up from the younger class. And, it only being the first day, most of the kids seemed pretty happy to stick with the friends they already knew. So I was glad that Gareth had a friend because otherwise it could have been a lonely day for him. Hopefully some of those boundaries will break down as the year progresses. He spent the day painting, playing with marbleworks, the play kitchen, trains, playdough, puzzles, and various other toys. He ran and ran on the playground until he was red in the face. During circle times he sat quietly, partly because he doesn't know anyone or any of the songs they sing, and I couldn't tell how much he was really taking in of what was going on around him. He often seemed oblivious to everything anyone said. He only had a couple of difficult moments - having to share the marbles and then when Teacher Lauren tried to teach the kids a new song he got very frustrated that he couldn't get it all right the first time (yes, he comes by the perfectionist strain quite naturally) and was on the verge of tears, saying it was "really hard". But no one noticed his distress (I was on the other side of the circle) and he moved on eventually.
He was completely tuckered out when it was time to leave. Of course, he wouldn't admit to being tired. And I got to deal with a lovely tantrum he threw a little later because of his exhaustion. Hopefully he'll eat more snack next time around and will adjust to the schedule as the year goes by and not be quite so monstrous after preschool every day. I'm tired out as well - three hours on my feet is exhausting!
That sounds like a really awesome way to do preschool, the whole co-operative idea! I hope it will be really great for both of you.
Yeah, the parents seem to love it. There are different co-ops with different approaches. I know some people whose daughter is doing a Waldorf? style one, where basically they are outside all the time (they had to buy special outdoor gear so the kids stay protected from the elements). It's still co-op, but more nature oriented.
Ours is a "lab school", so the parents prepare a 20 minute small group activity each class. It sounds like the teacher is going to focus a lot of social skills. Not as much work as a Joy School type scenario, but you're still involved and get to bounce ideas off other parents. I hope I enjoy it - and, hey, if it's not my thing, one year of it won't kill me.
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