Monday, January 05, 2009

A Big Week for Mimi

Today we went and visited Amelia's preschool classroom, and met her teacher. We have been talking about this for months, and her visit to the classroom was, I believe, everything she had hoped for. She spent about an hour with her teacher learning about the different types of "work" she'll be doing in class. Tomorrow she will begin with her regular schedule, four hours per day, four days per week. Of course, I have had all sorts of feelings about this big step. The visit today really helped me feel great about the transition, although I still feel a little anxiety about having her away from me on a regular basis for the first time.

The school she is going to is a Montessori, about fifteen minutes away. We visited several schools, and this one was very different in that Amelia seemed comfortable and excited to be there right away when we visited in October. I love all of the nature in the classroom, the gardening the children do and the huge play area outside. And, of course, the lack of plastic toys and that sort of junk. I am really happy that the classes are mixed in ages, so there will be older children taking Amelia under their wings. Jeff and I both appreciate the Montessori approach, allowing children to self-direct as they learn what interests them most, and having their activities be real-life activities-- thus termed "work." Today Amelia had a blast washing her face with cotton balls and carrying water from the bathroom in a pitcher to wash her hands in the old fashioned way.
Checking out everything in the room with her teacher.

Lately Amelia has had a lot more anxiety about being separated from me, so today's solo session with the teacher was very helpful. I am so excited for her to be able to spend regular time with other children. I never imagined that she would still be an only child at this age, but I am thankful for this option to give her more opportunity to learn to share her space and relate to her peers. As for me, I am a little giddy at the prospect of having four morninga a week to devote to whatever seems like the appropriate priority at the time-- whether it is laundry, a doctor's appt., work, or some extra sleep!
Finding her cubby-- it was really hard to get her to say goodbye and walk away from all of the excitement.

Growing up has been the big theme for Amelia this week. I didn't like the idea of sending her to preschool and then bringing her home to have her nap in a crib. We took it out, and I made a her cool "big kid" sleeping space. It took a little getting used to, but she is super proud of herself and seems to even be sleeping very well in it (this will be the fourth night this week, I may be speaking a little too soon.) I also got rid of her tin plates and other "baby" items. We'll let her keep her sippy cup for a few more weeks.... This is all a bit surreal, but I'm happy for her and am looking forward to this new season for our family. Think of Mimi this week, I'm sure she could use your thoughts and prayers as she takes these growing-up steps this week.
Mimi saying "Preschool!" to the camera.


doro said...

Hurray for the big girl!

Anonymous said...

how much fun! for both of you! :)


Gretchen said...

Oh, my eyes are watering! She is such a big girl now!
The pre-school looks like a ton of fun. =0)

Bethany said...

Such cute pictures! And I am so excited for her and you! My kids both loved preschool and I loved it when they did! As I spent the day taking my kids to a museum and feeling all angsty about their education, I kept thinking of you and how there must be a Chinese proverb that says, "May your children always thrive in the classroom!" Some kids do. I was one of them. I keep hoping mine will again. So three cheers for Amelia, and for four flexible hours for you!