He's been in preschool, at a different school, since he was about three and a half, but it was only two half days a week. It was a great school and I really liked it, but truthfully it had more of a "daycare" atmosphere then a school atmosphere. It was really good for his socialization, and he did learn while he was there, but we felt like he had maxed out his potential there and it was time to step it up a notch.
The whole school thing has actually been a pretty big point of stress for me for the last 6 months or so. L's birthday is September 15th and he turns 5 this year, but the kindergarten cutoff in AZ is that you have to be 5 by September 1st, and in the public school there are no exceptions. So we went back and forth for 6 months debating the pros and cons of finding a Charter or Private school that would let him test into kindergarten. It certainly would have my life easier, in the short term, for him to test into kindergarten. It would free up more of my time to focus on L2's speech therapy and spend more one on one time with R, and from a financial standpoint it would certainly be wonderful not to have to pay the tuition for Pre-K. But my heart kept telling me that, in the long term, this wouldn't be the best choice for him or for our family. It would mean he would always be the youngest in his class, and for many years, probably the smallest. Boys mature a little slower (any woman knows that!), and while I think he is certainly smart enough to start Kinder, I worried that being the youngest would eventually catch up and be detrimental. I also thought a lot about the long term. (I drove S crazy with all of my "what-if" scenarios!) But starting kinder this year would mean he would graduate college at 17 and probably leave home before he was 18. It meant he would be the last one of his friends to get a drivers licence and that would mean he'd be at the mercy of his friends for rides…. I'd rather he be the first where I can be a little bit more in control of how and when and with who he uses a car!
Anyway, we finally decided that we would test him in, but leave the option open for him to just do Kinder twice. It seemed like the best compromise, but I still wasn't totally comfortable. Thankfully, the decision ended up being made for us when the charter school we choose decided not to test any kids into the Kinder program this year. Pre-Kindergarten it was!!!
Today was the first day, and I'm feeling really good about our decision. He will be going five days a week, although only for a half day. He eats lunch there and then comes home at 12:30. I think it's the perfect way to ease in to full day Kinder next year! The school has a Montessori feel, and I feel very good about the academic structure and that he will be learning what he needs to for next year!
He's been excited about starting for weeks and this past weekend we went and got him a brand new lunchbox, and on Monday we had meet the teacher night! He was a little bit shy when I dropped him off this morning, but he makes friends so easily I know he will warm up and be fine within a week or so!
I can't believe my little boy is officially starting his school career. Like, this is it. Pre-K this year, next year Kinder and before you know it he'll be in high school. I'm so proud of the little man he is becoming, but it's a little bittersweet. Although it will be nice to have a little more freedom during the day (and even more so when L2 starts his preschool, hopefully in September) I'm going to miss being with him all day, everyday. It's also been a little surreal to be doing all those "school mom" things: packing lunches, signing up for the PTA and marking our calendar for school actives!
So, yes, I missed him today, and I was excited to go pick him up. But the best part was seeing how happy he was and listening to him tell me about all the fun things he did! And, of course, what would the first day of school be without mommy taking my boys our for a little treat?
Hope all you other Mama's had good first days of school too!!!!