It’s been a whole year since Alice started going to preschool, I can remember her first day like it was yesterday…
But, I am racing ahead, let me take you back to us making the decision to send Alice to preschool…When Alice turned two, we started to think that maybe Alice would need to start going somewhere that she could learn social skills on her own and learn new skills that I could not offer her at home.
I was on maternity leave with Holly and to begin with I battled with the decision to send her, when I was at home and not at work. But, after much discussion we knew that whilst I would love to have her by my side for every minute of her life, that is not the right thing for Alice…she sometimes has to be without her mummy (a silent sob!)
We moved house a couple of months later and started to look at preschool’s nearby. The minute I stepped into the preschool that Alice now attends, I knew it was right for her. It was a small setting and not overwhelming. It had everything that we were looking for and the staff were so friendly and welcoming.
We went for a settling in session together before christmas and whilst I was in the office filling in lots of forms. Alice was sat with her teacher, the lady that would become an important person in Alice’s life, and she only came to find me once, just to make sure I was still there. On the walk back home, I asked Alice if she would like to go back and she said ‘yes, please mummy, they have lots of things to play with and a slide in the garden’.
After Christmas it was time for Alice’s first day, her name was on her clothes and boots, her bag was packed…there was nothing else to do, but leave the house and walk to preschool.
Alice was so happy to be going and practically ran all the way, she couldn’t get there quick enough! We stood outside the gate and I looked down at my little girl who stood patiently waiting to go in and I was so proud of the person she had become and whilst I may not have been ready to send her off into the world on her own…I knew that she was.
She found her name and posted it in the box, I gave her a hug and in she went. There were no tears, that I had been expecting, there was no ‘I don’t want you to leave mummy’, that I had been expecting…she just turned at the door and gave me a wave.
Of course, I cried on the walk home, not only because I missed her already, but more than anything I was so proud of her. She took the whole thing in her stride.
It was the longest two and half hours of my life, I kept thinking about what she might be doing, was she ok, what if she got upset and needed her pink cloth, would the teachers find it in her bag…it all just kept whirling around my head. I held Holly close and told her that she was never leaving mummy!!!
Finally it was time to leave, of course I arrived early and waited outside, trying to catch a glimpse of her inside. Then the gate opened and in we went, the teacher told me that Alice had a lovely morning, she didn’t get upset and she only asked for mummy once and was happy when they told her, I would be back soon to collect her.
Then her little smiley face was at the door and she ran out into my arms, so pleased to see me, but also so excited to tell me about what she had been doing. She took my hand and we walked home…my little girl was back with me.
She would be going again in three days time and I was ok with that, as listening to my little girl chat so happily about her time at preschool, I knew we had done the right thing.
My Alice now attends preschool…and that’s ok.
A year later and Alice still loves going. It’s been a year of first parents evening, first sports day, first nativity play and lots more. Alice enjoys every part of going to preschool, she loves her teachers, she loves the friends she has made, she loves taking something in for show and tell. There has never been any tears and she continues to walk as fast she can to get there.
It was the best decision we ever made, our little girl continues to amaze us with everything she has learnt from being at preschool.
Next year it will be Holly’s turn and whilst I look at her now and think she is far to little to leave me, I know when the time comes it will be right thing to do.