Another school year gone, a new one begins...
I'm not really sure how it happened, but the 2018-19 school year flew by faster than any other year I can remember. Maybe it's because it was my first year as Director of Little Friends, or maybe it's because my teaching partner and I have logged enough years together as a team that we are finally settled into our new classroom. Or maybe it's just the nature of preschool.
The beginning of summer is a joyous time for preschool teachers - but it's also somewhat melancholy for us as well. As teachers, we form very strong bonds with our students. And for the teachers at Little Friends, we grow to love our students as our own. But what many parents may not realize is that for toddlers & Pre-K kiddos, memories are fleeting - and they are quick to move on to the next, new, big, shiny thing.
So a student who is completely attached to their teacher in May might not even remember that teacher when they return in the fall to a new class. Of course there will be some children who do remember - vividly - their preschool teachers. But the majority of them will run into their former teachers at Target or the grocery store and, even after much prompting from their parent ("Don't you remember Miss Maria? You LOVED her?!?"), the child will reluctantly shrug and look away. And you know that you're gone from their memory. Forever.
There's a grief process that comes with that for preschool teachers. But it makes it all the more important that what we leave them with is not necessarily memories of who we are as people - we leave them with a love of learning.
A brilliant friend of mine who teaches middle school once told me that in preschool we "imprint on children's souls" - and I cling to this. For those kiddos who are lucky enough to go to preschool, we teachers have the wonderful opportunity to set them up for success. We have the chance to teach them that learning is fun, that no two people are the same, that their voice matters and should always be heard in this noisy world. We have the opportunity of a lifetime to show them the value of knowledge.
My hope is that someday many years from now, one of my students will see someone wearing bright yellow shoes and feel instantly happy and like they should dance! They may not remember that Miss Maria's favorite color was yellow, and that she often wore yellow shoes while we "Jump, Shake & Shimmy It Out", but here's hoping that those little moments will connect to their grown-up subconscious to allow them to enjoy life and it's little moments of joy. And remember, if for just a moment, who they were before all the stresses of life caught up to them.
And so, on to swimming, boating, hiking, exploring, jumping waves, BBQs, family and friends - and whatever you have in store for your kiddos this summer!
I'll be reaching out to all of our returning families and new families beginning next month with information on our next school year. But until then, remember to drink in every blessed moment your have with your children this summer. Because before you know it, it will be back to school time!
Miss Maria xoxo