Friday, August 31, 2012

Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road

When I was a wee tot, there was a preschool in my hometown called Yellow Brick Road.  I didn't go to it.  I went to Mrs. Ray's preschool, which had some boring name that I've forgotten.  I loved it, don't get me wrong, but I always envied the kids who got to go to Yellow Brick Road because the name had so much more panache.

Today was Ben's last day ever of preschool.  He started at this facility two years ago, when he was two going on three.  Most people think of it as a daycare center, and it certainly provides excellent basic care.  But it's so much more than that.  Every classroom has two teachers, plus plenty of floaters and aids.  Every teacher either has or is currently working on a masters in early childhood education.  They have a coherent and amazingly rich curriculum, regular teacher-parent conferences, and impressive record-keeping on each child's development.  I could go on and on about the staff, the building, the gymnasium, the outdoor play spaces, etc., but suffice it to say that I really can't imagine anything better.  This past year he was enrolled in district-funded UPK (universal pre-kindergarten) there.  He received push-in and pull-out speech therapy, as well as PT right there in the gym.  His teachers, Brenda and Jenn, were fantastic.

So this post is basically a little homage to this home-away-from-home that was such an important part of our family life over the last two years.  When I picked Ben up this afternoon, for the last time, all of his things were already packed in a big paper bag labeled "Ben's Last Day Bag".  I wasn't going to cry.  I swore I wasn't going to cry.  I cried.  Jenn gave us each a hug.  And we left.

He's not a baby anymore.  He's not a toddler or a preschooler anymore.  Kindergarten starts Tuesday.  It's go time.


dlefler said...

Ach - this one made me tear up. The ending of the old and the beginning of the new - always a little bittersweet.

We start on Wednesday, with some excitement and a bit of mommy anxiety, too.

Here's to a fantastic first day of school. You'll rock Kindergarten, Ben!

Elsie Hickey Wilson said...

Mile stones!
A good preschool provides with care and education! As one of those preschool teachers, a kinder. teacher etc. with an early childhood degree, I really appreciate Ben's opportunity to attend such a marvelous place. On my brief visit there, it was very evident from the moment I walked in the door that it was a quality place! Aw, yes, Pree RAy's other name and it really was her first name! She gave both love and good teaching! Also, she had a quest teacher who came into introduce French...your start on that language! It is part of being a MOMMY and a DADDY to shed those tears! I picked you and Kathy each up from your "last day" at preschool and Dad took each of you to your first day of Kindergarten...both of us shed tears! Grammy is very proud of big boy Ben! Hugs all 'round!

Susannah said...

what leah said!

m goes to a co-op called peter pan nursery school. i think it's hilarious- it's a really old school- like 46 or 47 years old, but i think the name is so funny. there is another preschool called snow white. our friends were visiting from out of town and drove by that one and asked if all preschools in oakland were named after disney characters.