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Shiela and I have some pretty strong views about the idea of pre-school. Exposure to education and socialization is so critical.. but what about letting a kid be a kid? I'm not sure if it is like this everywhere in the country, but in the Boston area.. at least among my group of peers, pre-school is THE item to talk about once you've moved past moms bashing moms over issues like working outside the home or working from home or staying with the kid or.. you get the picture. It took about a year or so for everyone to stop discussing THAT. Now everyone is buzzing about pre-school.

Shiela and I had every intent to start Ben in pre-school some time before he started in Kindergarten. That's about as far as we have thought it and have done absolutely nothing to put the subject onto the front burner.

Ben goes to a family daycare 3 days a week. It used to be 4 days a week before I started my abridged (some call it sane) work schedule. It will be 4 days again at some point. We managed to find a family that has become part of our own. I didn't think it would happen. I figured that I would look for a place that made me feel as safe as I would if he was at my mom's old daycare.. but I never thought I'd find a place where I feel like he *IS* being cared for by family.

We lucked out. Not only are they awesome caregivers, but they have opened our eyes to things we had never planned on deliberately exposing Ben to. He is bilingual. He understands spanish as well, if not better than, english. He also signs. He has great social skills (aside from the hitting thing). Things are great.

Our daycare has recently split to have two main groups.. the infant group and the preschool group. Ben is on the young side for the preschool. Eventually they will be 2.5 yrs and up. Right now most of the kids are in the 2.25 yrs and up bracket. Ben is 20 months old (almost 21!). The main provider, who is in charge of the preschool "classes", has been Ben's primary care giver during mom-working-hours since he was 4 months old. When they decided to make this change of structure at the daycare, she came to us and asked if it would be ok to have Ben with the "older kids". She wanted him with her. The other providers are more than competant and are wonderful people.. she just wants Ben with her. Part of this is because of his history of seizures. It's also because she thinks he'll gain more from being exposed to the activities of the older kids than being downstairs in the infant area watching kids chew on elmo dolls.

Anyway.. for Ben, "school" has started gradually over the last two weeks. Yesterday and today were the first consecutive days that he spent in the school. They did projects, sang songs, played games, followed directions.. they even slept on "big kid" nap mats and ate their lunch and snacks without high chairs. Ben did GREAT. When I picked him up yesterday he was in an AWESOME mood. He took a 2.5 hr long nap (he usually naps for about an hour at daycare). He was a dream last night as we ran some errands and then he settled down for a full night of sleep at home.

I woke up to him saying "Mommyyyyy". My big guy. Of course.. when I went in to get him, he had three binkys and was dancing to the music from his old mobile. He's still my little baby. :)

3 Comments:

  1. Giovanna Diaries said...
    Mommy bashing?! Heavens no!
    As for my guys. No preschool for them. Daycare then kindergarten next year.
    Our daycare has many classrooms. They have been in the 3 levels of preschool already. I think they are both well-prepared for Kindergarten. So, snobbish moms will just have to deal! My kids didn't do an "official" preschool/pre-k. Deal!
    June said...
    Oh my lord! Ben really IS growing up too fast!! It truly is THE sweetest sound to hear your 'baby' call you in the early morning? In my mind's eye, I can still hear my Shiela singing herself to sleep at night--she was such an awesome child. She & Bryan were too independent for me once they hit the 1 yr mark - Shiela earlier than Bryan. Benjamin learning the Spanish & signing so quickly is evidence that young children absorb so much that first year! I wanna hear his little voice SOOOO bad - to hear him say Jaaym would be THE delight of my life. Every time Bryan's children call me by name it sits my heart/head spinning. I love the fact that you are so descriptive in blogging what happens in your family..keep up the good work! Love you bunches - ALL OF YOU GUYS!!! Have a wonderful weekend
    Anonymous said...
    jen, you are sooo right about your daycare being the right spot for ben, i even feel safe with your choice. and THAT is hard to do!!!! LOVE

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