As a child, I remember the early days of my school experience very vividly; the excitement, new friends, things learned. I remember making daffodils in preschool using a paper cup and plate that we painted yellow, and being so proud when I brought it home for my mom to see. I remember class photos, one in particular where I was sitting in the front row next to John Connell, my first real childhood friend. I always seemed to be in the front row in all of my class photos. I guess being one of the shortest in class does have its advantages. I remember recess, learning to tie my shoes, and waiting for the bus. Bus rides hold many memories saved in my files of the past.
So when it was time for my baby to start preschool, I began reflecting on my past. I have fond memories of school. I enjoyed school. I enjoyed learning. I enjoyed making friends. My husband, also an educator, would say the same. We want our son to have the same fond memories of his education, his school experiences, and the early days of learning.
Selecting a preschool is never easy. There are many anxieties that go along with the process. Mostly for the parents, rarely for the children. I knew Braden was ready for school. He is very social, extremely articulate, and was just plain ready!
Aside from the obvious, what will he bring home from school? We'll have a fridge full of paintings, endless colds and runny noses, new friends with whom we can have playdates, and stories to hear. But up until now, I have been Braden's primary role model. The person from whom he learned everything. Of course, there is his dad, the friends he sees regularly, but on the most part, it's just he and I. What will he learn from his teachers and classmates, that he won't get from me? What impact will they have on him? I know my teachers and friends have had huge impacts on me. I remember...
I remember the first time my kindergarten teacher came back from her honeymoon and announced her new married name. "My new name," she said, "is now Mrs. Playsick. It's easy to remember because sometimes we like to play, but we also get sick. Mrs. Playsick." Cool, I thought, that's a really cool name for a teacher. I also remember Mrs. Playsick giving me my first time-out and sending me to the "thinking bench". Yes, I guess there were time-outs over 30 years ago. But the reason I remember it so vividly was because it wasn't even my fault. She blamed me for something I didn't do and wouldn't listen when I told her is was Darleen Krot's fault. Aaaahhhh yes, the early days of my education!
I remember writing on the chalk board for the first time, learning to spell, and having spelling bees. I remember in 4th grade, Mrs. G., my home room teacher, was out sick for over a month and our substitute teacher taught us how to sign New York, New York in sign language. I still remember how.
I remember learning math, hating science and doing really well in social studies.
I remember the walls of the classroom, the curtains in the auditorium, the marks on the desks and the sounds of the hallways.
I remember snow days, gym class, my favorite teachers, substitute teachers, announcements over the PA, wearing uniforms, detentions, school projects, science fairs, and school dances. I remember best friends and boy crushes. In the early years, I remember Spiro Hellen, Danny Peterson, Patricia Balducci, Ronnie Russell, Tommy Falco, Ernest Garvey, Kathleen Curry, Barry Hempsey, AnnMarie D'Ottavio, Deirdre Maher, Chris Ryba, Adrian and Aurora Sottovia, and so many more.
I remember book bags, lockers and hot lunches when I got older.
We found an amazing little pre-school for Braden; one that we know the both of us will feel safe and happy to go to. One, that we hope will launch his love of school and forever be imbedded in his heart and memories.
So, to you Braden, we wish you a lifetime of learning, an endless amount of curiosity, and a love of education. Jump aboard this journey... stop at every stop, learn at every moment and don't get off. Never stop wanting to grow and learn and be a better person.
We hope, your dad and I, that we are good role models for you. You may leave the safe walls of your classroom and you may no longer have a teacher to guide you, but learning never stops!
We love you!
We are so very proud of you!
You're on your way...