preschool · slice of life

Preschool starts tomorrow!

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Dear Isabelle (because you prefer not to be called Izzy),

On Wednesday morning, Daddy and I will bring you to preschool.  I made sure he could go into work late months in advance so we could settle you into your new school together.  Some parents are sad when they send their babies off to preschool while others are delighted to get a few hours free.  I’m somewhere in the middle.  I treasured the two years we spent attending parent/child class at the Susquehanna Waldorf School, but now it’s time for you to start your educational journey by yourself.

I will miss you when you’re gone, but I have plenty of work to keep me busy. I know it will be hard to concentrate on my writing during the first few days you’re at school since I am going to be wondering how things are going.  In fact, I’m going to bake a cake from scratch when you’re at school on Wednesday morning rather than try to work on Craft Moves since I know my mind will be wandering.  (And besides, who wouldn’t want to eat a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting after their first day of preschool!?!?)

Last week we attended your teacher’s open house.  I was reminded of why I selected her to be your teacher while we spent an hour in her classroom.  First, she listens with her whole self.  She turns her body towards the speaker and makes consistent eye contact. Second, she has a calm voice and chill manner.  (Opposite of yours truly, a born New Yorker!)  Third, her classroom is serene, with white twinkling lights on the ceiling. Fourth, the room is clutter-free.  There are lots of toys, but it’s organized.

I have hopes and dreams for you, Isabelle.

I hope you make friends.  This will be the first time you’ll be making friends on your own, without me there to negotiate social situations, barter for toys, or facilitate communication.  I hope you are able to find peers you enjoy learning with and playing with in the classroom and on the playground.  I hope you share and respect them while sticking up for yourself whenever necessary.

I hope you use your voice.  I know you will talk to people (kids and adults) when you know they’re willing to take the time to understand you.  I hope you find a classroom full of people who are interested in what you have to say so you will feel free to take risks when you’re speaking.  Your teachers know speaking is something that requires a lot of work for you so I hope they will help you through this so people don’t think you’re quiet and shy – because I know you’re not.

I hope you balance your silly and serious sides.  You have the tendency to get very silly at home.  I’m not sure if this is a home-thing or if this is going to grow into a school thing.  I want you to laugh and let your hair down in school, but not at the expense of the learning environment.

I hope you embrace new challenges.  And to that end, I hope you continue to have a growth mindset.  Part of your speech success is due to the growth mindset you have.  You try and try and try, even when it’s hard.  I admire you for that.  I hope this transfers over to your school life too.

I hope you continue to love reading.  Your new classroom is filled with books.  I hope you discover new titles and authors you enjoy.  Nothing would tickle me more than having you share books with me.

I hope you start to write.  Maybe not this year, but during preschool.  And by write, I mean talking through stories and drawing pictures of those stories.

I hope you will be a leader, not a follower.  I hope you will advocate for yourself and for others.  And most of all, I hope you will do the right thing, even when the right thing isn’t the easy choice.

I dream you won’t discover princesses or become obsessed with certain toys.  I’ve managed to shield you from these things for the past three-and-a-half years.  I know I can no longer shield you from it since you’re going to be in a classroom of kids, some of who are girly-girls and some of whom might have memorized the words to every Disney movie.  Therefore, I hope I handle whatever comes my way, on this front, with grace and patience.  I know I’m going to need both when the preschool floodgates open.  (And, no, you can’t be a princess for Halloween.  But you can still be an owl, like you said you wanted to be last week.)

Finally, I hope you love school.  It would delight me if you’d wake on a school morning, excited about the day ahead.  School is a place for learning, but it should also be a place you love going to because learning is fun.

I know you’re worried about missing me. Eliza and Sam talked to you about going to school without their moms the other day. I hope their words provided you some comfort.  And, I hope you know from all of the times I’ve left and come back before that “grown-ups come back” every time.

I love you.




19 thoughts on “Preschool starts tomorrow!

  1. We haven’t been as vigilant against the princesses as you, Stacey, but I was hoping to avoid Barbie. This summer my niece (who had need met my daughter) pulled out a box of them with furniture and clothing, and it was all over. Claire can’t get enough Barbie now. Partly because I am doing NOTHING to help satisfy this appetite. I hope it all fades into the background soon.

    Moving on to this new phase with my own children has really given me a new perspective on on the parents of my students!

  2. It is such a leap… and you’ve captured all those thoughts and feelings and hopes and dreams so beautifully here. Good luck tomorrow. Be patient and trusting with the bumps and adjustments. All three of you will be okay.Will be thinking of you.

  3. Good luck! You’ve reflected on so much of what many of us want as parents, and it is lovely! I’ve tucked away the idea to consider what I want for my own children as they continue on their journey in Kdg. and 4th grade. I hope tomorrow is nothing but fantastic for Isabelle and her family.

  4. Oh, Stacey, this is so sweet and, of course, brought tears to my eyes in this early morning hour as I thought of you sending Isabelle off on her own. And I thought of my own girls, too. It is a perfect mix, like you said. I want to keep my girls here with me always, but I also know they belong to the world, too.

    You have such sweet wishes and dreams for Isabelle. I just know she is going to do wonderfully! It sounds like a dream school with an extraordinary teacher! I can’t wait to hear more about her days at preschool!

  5. I doubt these hopes and dreams will ever change, Stacey. Wonderful to think about, & to know that with your support, Isabelle is already well started on these goals. Best wishes for a wonderful Wednesday for both you and Isabelle! (Ingrid started Kdg. last Wed. & Imogene starts a new school today! Changes, changes…

  6. She will treasure this letter forever and I bet it was a good process to get it all down on paper. It is clear you love her for who she is — and that will include princesses if that is what is to come! She will explore and try new things. She will be curious about her friend’s interests, but I have found that my kids always stay true to themselves in the end. Just remember it is a journey and figuring out who you are takes time. Enjoy tomorrow!

  7. The future is such a mystery, all we can do is hope for the best. Your sweet girl has an adventure of school ahead of her. I hope it matches your hopes and dreams.

  8. A beautiful letter Stacey. I hope it was a good day for Isabelle and you too. How lucky she is to be surrounded by such love, dreams, and acceptance. Welcome to this new stage in your journey.

  9. I can’t wait to hear how she (and you) are doing after a few weeks. She is so fortunate to have a mother who has such a wonderful message about taking that first step into education away from family.

  10. Oh, I love this Stacey! Amazing how fast the first 3-4 years go!! And also amazing to see how much they grow and learn in such a short time!

    I laughed out loud about finding out about the “princesses.” Yes, I actually thought of you when I wrote my slice and started with, “The girls were upstairs playing dress up. Tiaras, capes, dresses, and fancy plastic shoes.” Trust me I was cringing with you, but this is what the “real” world of preschool can introduce. 🙂 Now, in the dress up box, my girls also have Home Depot aprons and super hero capes and shields. I try!

    I can’t wait to hear about Isabelle’s days at school! (That’s another tricky conversation — trying to find out what they did! I know you wrote a post about preschools using Twitter to keep parents informed, but a little trick we use at our house is for everyone to share one good from the day (something that made you happy) and one bad (something that made you sad). I think Tara S. used the terms a rose and a thorn. I also want to add to our conversations ‘one thankful’.)

    Embrace every new moment!

  11. This is quite a LOVE LETTER! Sending them off to school really is a leap of faith, hope, love and dreams. It is also where they will like learn about and practice what we do not embrace (in my case, cursing, rude talk, burping, belching, and Barbie!). I can’t wait to follow Isabelle’s journey through preschool even though we BOTH know YOU will only know BITS and I will only know about TIDBITS!

    1. I am definitely only learning about bits of her day. I asked her what kind of book they read last Friday and I heard it was Pete the Cat. (Not sure which one.) As for today’s book, she said it was about beards going for a boat ride. Um… doubtful.

  12. So excited for you as Isabelle takes flight for preschool. What a precious letter! I can’t wait for Isabelle to discover new titles and authors to share with you. Sara used to come home from babysitting with new book titles to share. Now we send each other pics of our WTR (want to read) stacks from the library.

  13. I like the rose/thorn idea + adding a thankful. We’ll have to embed something like that in our nightly conversations.

    BTW: I’m not judging you for having the girls in dress up in tiaras and capes. Whatever works for you guys!

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