A week after dropping one daughter off to begin her freshman year of college I’m standing in line at our local high school to pick up my younger daughter’s class schedule. She could do this herself but had a conflict during “schedule pick up time” and couldn’t wait for it to be sent in the mail. She NEEDED to know NOW her classes and her teachers. She wasn’t alone. I stood along the perimeter of the cafeteria alongside a mass of teenagers and a sprinkling of other parents staring at the troops across the room at tables with signs above their heads that read A-C, D-F, G-J, and so on. Our eyes were fixed on the table with the first letter of our last name and you could hear a pin drop as we waited for the clock to strike 1:00. Finally the announcement came, “You can pick up your schedule now”. It was like the Kentucky Derby. The crowd roared and surged to their spot, volunteers were tested on their speed of finding papers filed alphabetically. As soon as paper hit hand, cell phones were already spreading the news.
It was like this when I was a kid too. Well with the exception of instant communication. We had to wait for the mail to be delivered and then actually DIAL a phone. But the phone tree was quickly organized and before the mail carrier was back to the post office, most of us knew not only what classes we had but also the schedules of our friends.
It’s really no different at the preschool level. Except the excited ones are the parents. They know their child’s classroom is also their child’s own little community. The place where friendships will be formed, where their child will learn and grow, and where their child will gain confidence, feel needed, have fun, and hopefully come to love school. It’s a big deal. It’s the beginning of more than the school year, it’s the beginning of their school YEARS.
So as I’m carefully labeling cubbies and deciding who will be my red triangle and who will be my blue square, I’m reminded that it’s not the toys and manipulatives, the paint and the rice bin, or the hundred activities I have swirling around in my head that is going to make this a special school year. It’s how I bring it all together for the individual child. If I can meet the individual child where they are and nurture them as they grow, and instill a love for school, I can give them the world. Wow. What a great job!