'Tis the season; it's back to school time!
Tory is enrolled in a two-day preschool program again this year. In fact, it's the same classroom and the same teacher she had last year. While many of Tory's peers moved on to various three day/week programs, I stood firmly in my decision to keep Tory in this program for another year. This was for a couple of reasons:
1) First, Tory has a late August birthday which means last year (and the year before that), she was the very youngest kid in her classroom. Some of the students were almost an entire year older than she was, and it was evident by their physical differences in size, large motor skills (like knowing how to skip or pedal a bicycle, for example), and in their willingness to separate from their parents during class how immature she was. Yet, there were many other ways Tory was on par or more advanced than her classmates.
This year, I wanted Tory to have the opportunity to be one of the older kids in her classroom; to truly see where she fit in best. This year's experience will help Andi and I decide if we should send Tory to kindergarten next year as a young five-year-old, or wait two more years and enroll her as a young six-year-old. Tory loves this school and her classroom so I know, if nothing else, she'll excel in an environment where she feels safe and supported.
2) Selfishly, my second reason for enrolling Tory in the same two day/week preschool program is to keep our family's extracurricular commitments to a minimum. Our days together in the official "pre-schooling" years are fleeting, and I want to spend as much time at home with Tory as possible. Over the course of the year, Tory and Aden participate in gymnastics, music, swimming, play dates with friends, and trips to the cabin where they play and explore outdoors so I think it's safe to say, their learning environment is far from limited to the experiences she (or someday, he) have in school.
So! As I said, my mind was fairly made up to keep Tory in the same two day/week preschool program this year. Tory has the same teacher, Ms. Janna, and she couldn't wait to go back to school this fall to see her. All I heard for the weeks leading up to school starting again was, "Is it fall-time? How many more days until I get to see Ms. Janna?" My girl was beyond excited.
And, I have to admit, if felt pretty awesome (for both Tory and I) to march into the preschool building on that bright and sunny September morning and see a familiar classroom and a welcoming face.
Of course, all the children in Tory's class are new this year so that makes this school year different than last year. The curriculum is the same, but I'm not worried about it being too boring for her because kids love knowing what to expect (at least Tory does). Tory's teacher already committed to tailoring the preschool lessons to Tory's skill level, so she won't be repeating the same instruction all over again. It's not like she was some sort of expert of the alphabet at four-years-old anyway! So far (one week into the school year!), it's smooth sailing. Hallelujah for easy-breezy beginnings!