Friday, June 27, 2008

Growing Pains (No, not the bad Alan Thicke sitcom)

Big changes are afoot in the Followthatdog household. Starting next week, Big Dog will be attending a new preschool two days a week. After this month, he’ll be transitioned to three days a week at the new school and be out of his current school completely. Right now he’s pretty excited. In part because he has himself convinced that Mamikaze’s Fluffy will be at his new school. (I say she won’t, he replies “We’ll see.”) and in part because many of his friends are going on to Kindergarten and he sees this as the same big move. I’ve allowed him to keep hold on that fantasy, but have gently reminded him it is Pre-K, and he has one more year before he gets to go for the full school bus and recess adventure.

So while my big boy is excited about the first day of his new school, mommy is beginning to freak out a little big. I know he needs a change. I’ve been disenchanted with his current preschool for a while. He does great there, or I would have moved him before now, and when I think about this I kind of questions my decision to move him now. The tiny devil on my shoulder says he hates change. He is timid in new situations and he’s already settled in at his current school. So what if a lot of his friends are moving on, there will still be a couple of his current playmates in the classroom. Isn’t that less traumatic that a total upheaval?

At the same time, the good mommy angel is sitting on my other shoulder telling me to remember how excited I was by the curriculum of this new school, how engaged the teachers were, how they provide daily feedback, a portfolio of your child’s progress, child guided lesson planning and a new environment in which he can explore and grow. It is also a great transition to help him prepare for the day he does go on to Kindergarten if he really has issues with big changes, this will help soften that blow.

And my bitchy mom self reminds me of the more personal reasons I want to move him. His current school is just poorly managed. The director is mostly absent and fails to consider that she is providing a service that parents and families rely on. They close frequently with little notice. Getting a receipt for your payment only recently became a reality. Any conversation about policy turns into a flurry of accusations of trouble making and ends with “Well, you knew the policy when you started here.” And the director’s attitude seems to flow down to some of the teachers. One teacher in particular seems to take great joy in throwing her power around with the classroom of 3 and 4-year-olds. And as a parent, I feel like I am viewed as a necessary evil, not a partner in my child’s education. I want more for Big Dog than this. I want him to really thrive.

So while I juggle all of these emotions, and balance Big Dog’s real feelings with my own projected insecurity and fear of change, I try to keep trudging forward. We have a playdate with a boy who will be in Big Dog’s new class on Monday. I’m hoping that having a familiar face in the room will help cushion his landing when I bring him in for his first day on Tuesday.

Now who’s going to remind me to breathe once I drop him off that first day?


AnnetteK said...

Don't second guess yourself. Kids make new friends so easily at this age, and if you're happier with the new school he'll be happy too.

Mrs. F said...

The beginning of a new school is a totally good excuse to sit yourself down and have a real good cry.

My baby starts kindergarten in less than 4 weeks. You can guess what I will be doing on that day...wah, wah.

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