Today was P’s first day of school! She’s in her second year of pre-school. I think she’ll have another year before heading off to kindergarten.
This year I’m actually a bit worried. Her school went through some changes and there is a new director. She has yet to talk to the parents and let them know if there are any changes to the philosophy or direction of the preschool. I can tell they want to go more towards a disciplined and educational route vs the developmental philosophy of where it was before….although no one has come out and said it to the parents.
I have a strong belief that children learn best through play at this age. Yes, they need to be structured but not at this young of an age. I worry they may make P learn how to write and know her letters though workbooks and a structured setting. If this is the case I know she will rebel and I worry this will define a negative attitude towards learning. This is my worst case scenario and I pray it does not come to pass. And if it does I pray I may be ready to make good choices for her and to place her in a better setting.
My idea of school has changed dramatically over the past year. Before P entered school I thought it would be a place I’d send her to daily where she would get educated, both socially and academically. However, I would not be that involved. In other words, I was mirroring what my parents did. Once she was in school I thought that it’s not just about the education and the teachers but the families you become integrated with. They are and will continue to be a huge part of the “village” that raises the kids.
Now, after one year of school and being very disappointed by the Catholic system that took over after the last director was booted out, I have a new thought. Basically, no one will ever know my child like I do. School is a place where she will get her basic education and hopefully a little more. However, I will be the one to take her knowledge, experiences and wisdom to another level. My choice of school is based on who her classmates will be: ie, what is the economic level, education, expectations and parenting style of most of the other families. School is more about who she’s associating with than developing her IQ and smarts. The basic book smarts she can get anywhere really. But the true thinking is really up to me to foster. In most of the books I’ve read about childhood education they all seem to agree. I pray that along the way she will get great, inspirational teachers who will help develop positive ideas on her role in the world. But I’ve definitely changed my perspective on the whole thing and am focusing on what I can do to inspire her rather than hoping a system, school or director will.
So, with that said, I’m excited for another year of school and another year of experience in the educational system. I wonder how I’ll feel next year. Mostly, I pray P will always continue to love to learn.