As Thanksgiving draws nearer, we naturally begin to take stock of all the things for which we are thankful. Most of these things are obvious go to choices -- each other, having food on the table, and our health come to mind. But there are other, perhaps overlooked things for which we are also thankful but that don't readily come out during the table discussion. Preschool is definitely one of those things, for both kids and adults.
For one thing, preschool gets everyone out of the house. There's nothing wrong with being a homebody, but a change of scenery will do anyone a world of good, whether it's mom driving the kids to the school or the kids letting go of their cabin fever. New sights, sounds and, yes, smells await even the most jaded under-five set. That newness can be scary, true, but once both the kids and the parents get to know the teacher, the kids and the stuff in the classroom (as well as the schedule) preschool is often a welcome change.
And speaking of teachers, who knows what we'd do without them? Teachers -- preschool or otherwise -- are responsible for shaping our children into the leaders of the future. Yet rather than crumble under the weight of such an enormous task, they respond to it with the same confidence, courage, and resilience that they instill in our children. The world of parenting can be a very scary place, especially for those who haven't done it before, and knowing that teachers are there to help every step of the way is definitely something for which we are thankful.
But what about those other kids? To parents they're just the other kids in their child's class. To the child, however, other children represent independence. At home life revolves mostly around what the parents want, think and do. At school a child stands on his or her own, and creates a whole world of learning and playing populated by their peers. Plus, and not to get too analytical or anything, but even at an early age children learn how to define themselves by how their peers see them, and how they want their peers to see them.
And, the fabulous thing about children is their ability to both teach and learn from other children in a way that is entirely different from the way adults try to educate them. Learning to go to the bathroom, tying shoes, and other seemingly small things (that are actually monumental for parents) can be made so much easier with the assistance of another child. Sure, sometimes ability is born of competition -- who can be the first, finest or fastest -- but we're thankful for a little healthy competition every now and then.
Preschool is a place of learning, yes; but it's also a place of accomplishment and pride. Nothing is more wonderful than seeing a child's face beam with pride at having successfully completed a task. That task could be reciting the ABCs or telling time, or seeing a planted seed sprout and bloom, but we're thankful for whatever it is that compels your child to exclaim, "I did it!"
But the thing for which we are possibly most thankful when it comes to preschool is opportunity. Going to preschool provides children with the tools they need to become whatever they want to be in life, and at a crucial age. Whether that tool is knowledge, confidence or pride, preschool provides the chance to learn and do and experience it all, but within a safe, nurturing context.
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