An October birthday equaled three full years of preschool for Juliana, it seemed like she was in preschool forever (half of her life to this point). This last year of preschool was much of the same – same classroom, same teachers (with the exception of her beloved Ms Moran, Juliana still tells me that she misses her on a regular basis), many of the same classmates, and a lot of the same content and activities. This year was less about improving her knowledge and more about improving her social skills and confidence.
She had weekly gym class this year and learned about team sports and playing by the rules. She had her first birthday party with her friends from school and attended lots of birthday parties – in the process she learned the joy of finding the perfect gift for a friend. She gradually spent less time glued to my side and more time running ahead.
In the past few weeks we have closed the preschool chapter and started the Knidergarten journey. There was preschool graduation where they sang songs, played a song with handbells, and received a diploma. She was happy, she stood on stage or sat with her class. Unlike previous years she wasn’t running back to where we were sitting asking to sit with us.
The last day of preschool was no big deal. She will be there for the summer program again this year so she will spend the summer with a lot of the same friends. The last day of the summer program will likely be more difficult.
We went to Juliana’s new school for Kindergarten screening the first week of June. That morning she was eating breakfast and came running in the other room to tell me that she felt sick and couldn’t eat any more. She went to her room and picked out a spare outfit in case she got sick on the way there. As we drove past the school looking for a parking spot she spotted something that changed her mood completely – a playground (I found out later that it is brand new). We parked and then took a closer look at the playground – she was momentarily over her nerves and excited about the new school.
Once inside we signed in for our time slot and I filled out some paperwork. She met a girl named Grace and they talked and we sat together watching a dance class rehearse. A teacher walked into the room and called Juliana’s name. I looked at Juliana and her eyes were filled with panic. She asked why I couldn’t go with her and why Grace couldn’t go with them. I held her hand and walked into the hallway, stopped and crouched down to her level. I told her that she would be fine and when she was done I would be right there waiting for her. She fought back tears, gave me a big kiss and hug, took the hand of the teacher, turned and walked away. I wiped away a few tears and joined the other moms for a school tour.
When she returned an hour later (after 5 different screening sessions) she was bursting with excitement. She talked non-stop about how much she loves her new school. Everything I saw that day makes me think that this school is going to be a perfect fit for Juliana. Now if I could stop worrying about putting her on a school bus…