So school is back and we are into a new academic year.
As a teacher, even though I am not working any more I still plan my life around school holidays. My husband’s work is school based and many of our family and friends are teachers.
Also we thought that this year Esther and William would begin their academic careers but I have put the brakes on that for the moment.
Before the summer holidays I was all set up for them to start preschool this term. We visited a few towards the end of the summer term and I was happy that we would support the village playgroup for a year and then go on to a more established preschool once they had a place for us.
Last week I took Esther and William along to our village preschool (play group) for a taster session. We had been before to visit but this time I was really aware that soon, if not today, I would be leaving them there alone. I just did not feel comfortable. It did not feel right.
There were only two other children in the setting and two adults but I still felt that Esther and William would not receive the attention at just two that they need.
As a teacher and as a mummy I have expectations of what preschool should be like. What it should look like, what should happen there and how it should feel.
In my ideal early years setting the day would start with self registration of some kind – moving your name or a photo of yourself on a board for example. When I taught KS1 we had this on an interactive whiteboard and the children moved themselves to school dinners or packed lunch. It was a great way to start the day and a record of who was in school and who was away.
In my ideal early years setting there would be some kind of group hello. Perhaps a welcome song, some show and tell, looking at a visual timetable for the session or looking at a calendar and identifying the day, date and weather.
In my ideal early years setting the free play would be well supervised with adults guiding children as appropriate, extending learning opportunities as they come about. The toys would be clean and well stored, clearly labelled with words and pictures, and accessible for the children to choose and get out what they want to do.
There would be an outside space accessible at all times in all weathers with water play and sand and things to ride.
There would be healthy snacks for the children to choose from when they were hungry and good hygiene habits would be encouraged.
There would be a good range of well looked after books perhaps arranged by topic.
Each term or few weeks would have a topic or a focus such as Ourselves, Animals or Autumn.
There would be art and craft activities linked to the topic or theme.
There would be opportunity for physical activity and larger scale activities that are not always possible at home.
The adults would be caring, creative and enthusiastic and with a clear understanding of the early years curriculum.
That is what I want for my children in their pre school amongst other important things such as finding friends and learning to share.
I am sad that we have not found that in our local setting but so pleased that we have found it nearby.
Esther and William will start a wonderful preschool with all of the above things and so so so much more at the beginning of November.
And Matilda will finally get some quality time with Mum.
Matilda will be 6 months old when the twins start preschool and I think that is about right as Esther and William started their first classes when they were 6 of 7 months old.
I am so happy that we have found a place where Esther and William can grow and develop at their own pace alongside other children and with caring responsible adults.
A place where I will feel confident leaving them for just a few hours a day.
I can’t wait!