It’s the end of a small era here this morning,my four-year old has just left for playschool for the last time. She has been going there every day all her life and attended for the last two years. My older two children both attended this playschool. Today the four-year old finishes and the playschool closes its doors for the last time.
I remember back in 2008 looking into playschool and Montessori’s for the precious first-born. I didn’t know any parents really in the area and had no recommendations. I checked out a few and then I went to see this one. A small playschool filled with toys and happy small people and staff that were like Nana’s instead of childcare professionals. There are certificates on the wall of qualifications and training, in six years, I have never given them more than a cursory glance. I knew from the start that the lovely teachers would look after my children and give them a hug and a kiss if they fell or if they were lonely, it was more important to me than qualifications or curriculums. And they did, they hugged my children and taught them how to count their fingers and make wagon wheel cakes and paint messily and take their turn. This playschool was the first place my three children were looked after by anyone other their family. It was their first baby steps into the world of lunchboxes and learning. It was the first place they learned something that their Dad or I hadn’t taught them.
It has prepared my three children for school because while they may not have been able to write, read or do addition upon leaving, they learned to open their lunchbox, look after their belongings, wash their hands and make friends. They all made great friends there. Even I made friends! One of whom I met six years ago and I think I will know forever.
My children walked in there on their first day a couple of months shy of their third birthdays and became a little bit independent of me. I cried the morning they all started and I will most likely cry when I go to collect my daughter today. Even though this is my third time doing this the nostalgia is just as strong and the pangs thinking about another one of my children starting primary school still cripple me, even though I know she will be fine. The other two were because I believe this playschool gave them all they needed to prepare for the world of school and they all had so much fun there.
The playschool is closing today. With the introduction of the free preschool year a few years ago a number of Montessori’s have opened in the area. There is huge competition based on the number of flyers I get in the door and this school is now closing. I think it’s an awful shame. I am not sure if there are any other playschools in the area and there should be more. There should be more options for parents who don’t choose the Montessori method for pre school. I am sad for the wonderful teachers who have looked after my children so well over the last six years and all the other children that have come through the doors in the 15 years they are open.I am sad that the new child won’t get to attend there when her time comes.
I’m so proud of my four-year old today, she has sailed through playschool and has grown from a tiny little girl eager to emulate her big brother and sister and leave her with her school bag in the mornings, to a tall, friendly, bright and beautiful 4 and a half-year old who will join her big brother and sister in primary school in September.
End of a small era. I will always remember this playschool and be grateful I stumbled upon it six years ago, it will be a little bit hard to say goodbye today.