On May 20th (ahem, I am quite behind on many posts!), I had the privilege of watching a self confident, sweet, joyful girl join her Preschool class for their graduation program.
She learned SO many things this year! The first time she blew me away this year was when all of a sudden (like in October), she was able to recite the ENTIRE LORD'S PRAYER! It never occurred to me that a 4 year old could learn such a long and difficult passage! Throughout the year, she LOVED going to "school". We are so blessed that our church houses a wonderful preschool program. Hazel's first formal learning experience was in a place where she was completely comfortable and her teachers were familiar faces. IDEAL!
Most of what Hazel would discuss with me were the nuances of social interactions. She loved making new friends and playing with these friends, but she had (has) A LOT to learn about giving friends space and picking up on their cues. However, she is like a flower, attracting a beautiful array of butterflies around her. She is getting really good at setting boundaries on how people are allowed to treat her ("friends don't treat each other that way") and has learned that sometimes friends say hurtful things, but if you forgive them and talk to them, you usually still have a wonderful friendship.
Perhaps my PROUDEST MAMA MOMENT was when we received a Thank You note after her graduation from one of her teachers (we gave them flower seeds and chalkboard pots), her teacher wrote:
"She really is a special little girl and her self confidence and independence will serve her well as she goes forward. She's also a nice little girl, willing to include others anytime- great attitude and not all that common!" (underline in original)
WOW! I could not have asked for a better end result to her first year of education! We are SO proud of this little girl and honored to be her parents.
Her favorite activity in school is coloring pictures and her coloring has matured in leaps and bounds over the year. She can consistently spell her name, though sometimes she jumbles a letter or two and she can name almost all of the capital letters correctly. Truth be told, I really eased off forcing these skills at home once my research taught me that forcing young kids to drill writing/reading skills doesn't improve their skills long term, but often does create a distaste for learning and reading.
One of the coolest things has been watching her family portaits (and name) evolve:
|I LOVE how insignificant she made Heidi in this one! Art = Honesty :)|
any day now we are going to all start getting ARMS! It's an exciting life we lead :)
All in all, Hazel "graduated" with all the skills we had hoped for: confidence when facing new tasks, growing social skills, understanding school expectations and letter recognition. I never imagined her changing so much in such a short time... sniff sniff...
Additionally, after A LOT of discussion and hand wringing, we've decided to send Hazel to a second year of PreK. If she had not been born 5 weeks early, she would not be eligible for Kindergarten this fall. She was, so she is... but we're opting for another year of childhood rather than an earlier year of adulthood. Following? Plus, these days Kindergarten is INTENSE! All day, rigorous, awesome, but chock full of reading, writing, arithmetic. Since we have the option, we're choosing to give her another year full of imagination, free play, NAPS and small intimate groups of friends. We are sending her to a different Preschool that is in a school building and more days & hours per week. A perfect stepping stone (we hope!).