Tory finished another year of preschool at the end of May. Our sweet girl had a great year -- one of much growth in physical, emotional and social development. I think we both felt a bit sad to see such a positive experience come to an close.
This was Tory's third year attending preschool in this particular school building, and her second year in Ms. Janna's class. It's become a consistent part of our weekly schedule, and a familiar place to see friends. Next year, she'll attend preschool in a different school district with a new instructor, new classmates and double the amount of school hours. She'll have the chance to experience new things there, but we'll always remember the memories we made in this particular ECFE program.
First day of preschool (September 2015) // Last day of preschool (May 2016)
Andi and I made the decision to enroll Tory in a second year of Ms. Janna's 3-4 year old preschool class (vs. a class that meets more days/week geared toward 4-5 year olds), and it proved to be wise decision. Tory met (and in some areas exceeded) expectations academically, and being one of the older kids in her class this past year gave her the confidence to handle rules, routines and transitions with ease.
I've seen the greatest change in Tory's literacy and math skills this academic year. She is able to identify and name all uppercase and lowercase letters, and is beginning to produce sounds for about half of the letters in the alphabet. She is also starting to understand that a sequence of letters represents a sequence of spoken sounds. Once she masters that, she'll be ready for early reading! It boggles my mind to think we have a child who'll be able to read in the near future.
Tory's made dramatic improvements in writing her first name this school year. She correctly holds her pencil with a three-point grip and can proficiently use a scissors. I never want to forget the way she writes her name (Tory) and my name (Mom) on every drawing or assignment she creates. They're the two words she knows how to spell by heart, and a simple way my baby girl shows me she's growing up.
Her imagination is blossoming, and now she'll draw detailed pictures of people doing their favorite activities (fishing at the cabin, watching fireworks) and hearts and stars to show her adoration.
One skill that surprised me recently is Tory's ability to quickly identify a group of 1-5 objects in a sequence. At first glance, she can look at five dots in a row and tell you there's five dots there without counting them individually. Doesn't that seem like something a big kid would be able to do? It's evident how much she's growing into one.
Tory's preschool class was filled with boys this year (8 boys; 5 girls), and two of her favorite friends were Mohamed and Abel. It was a bit of a harmless love triangle, really; Mohamed adored Tory and always asked to sit on the carpet square next to her at Circle Time. Tory seemed to gravitate toward Abel though, and often talked about playing shark Legos and dinosaurs with him. Fortunately, we have play dates with our ECFE class scheduled this summer because I'd be sad to see these friendships fade after the school year ended.
Tory and her friend Mohamed (who's 9 months younger, by the way. Look what a peanut she is compared to her classmates!)
Tory with her teachers and certificate of class completion
Tory is eligible to attend kindergarten next year (2016-2017 school year), but after much deliberation Andi and I decided to enroll her in a pre-K program four mornings/week. She makes the age cut-off by one day which would make her one of the youngest children in her grade. I'm very confident in her skills academically, but I think another year of preschool will give Tory a boost in social and emotional development. Besides, what's the rush? Let them be little.
Until then, bring on the summer fun!