With our oldest boy beginning pre-kindergarten this fall, my husband and I have a lot of jitters. I think that these feelings are totally normal, although they're certainly not fun to have.
Our son has been "in school" for the past three years. Toward the end of each summer leading into school, I felt a combination of pride that he was learning so much and fear that I wouldn't be with him all the time. We worried that he would miss us terribly, be bullied, or even be bored and then misbehave. It seemed that all the bad things that had happened to us as kids in school were sure to happen to him, and all of the good things – overwhelmingly good, of course – wouldn't.
Now, he's our oldest, so we know that we are navigating unsailed waters with him. The triplets will have each other, but they will also benefit from our experience with their older brother. In our minds, we know that it's unlikely that all our worries will come true. In our hearts, we still are concerned.
Have we learned anything from his past three years? Probably the same as other parents charting this course. For example, teachers are usually great. Early childhood teachers especially know that children enter their rooms at various stages and from a variety of backgrounds. I know all students at every grade level are at different stages, but at least a class of fifth-graders has been through several years of schooling and has some common knowledge and experiences.
We've also seen our son excel in school. He, like so many of his peers, enjoys going. We ask him what his favorite parts of the day are, and he usually says things like, "Circle time and recess and going to the library." He doesn't know that those fun experiences are chances for him to grow socially, verbally, and physically. He hasn't yet had to take a test or write an essay. Those things are for later, of course. So we know that he will be challenged according to his age and ability. Cutting with scissors today is enough of a challenge!
Lastly, we have discovered that we are pretty good parents, at least with regard to education! School is important to us, but we can't just leave all of our sons' learning to someone else. We share our love of books, music, art, and history with our boys. Our son will get his own library card for his birthday even though we could just check out all our family's books with one. We subscribe to a few magazines to help our boys see that learning new things is always important. It's terribly hard sometimes, but we limit the TV watching in the house to a few shows a day.
And in addition to practicing cutting out pictures and straight lines and rolling out Play Dough to strengthen his hands for writing (as his teacher suggested), we play together. We know that parents are children's greatest and most important role models and pillars.
So, although our nerves are in a bundle as we prepare for pre-K, deep, deep down, we know that he is ready for this next chapter. Tell us how your family has gotten over this hurdle – we need some good tips! And if you're just getting started like our family, please let us know how you are doing these days before the big day! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.