On the Friday before her birthday, The Little Empress got to celebrate her third birthday with her classmates. I baked cupcakes for the kids to eat at snack time and then bought a pizza for their lunch. Sadly, this would be her last day with her classmates as her program only covers from ages 18 months to 3 years.
After nearly a year of watching her other friends graduate out of the Explorers program and sit in the special Graduation Chair, she was so excited to get to pick out her two Circle Time songs and be presented with a certificate, hat and presents. TLE absolutely basked in the attention.
TLE has made such incredible strides in the class that it was very hard to accept that she wouldn’t be attending anymore. She went from being a somewhat aloof, tantrum-prone toddler with very few discernible words to a lively, friendly and chatty preschooler.
But all good things must come to an end at after graduation and a round of goodbye hugs, we bid goodbye to her Explorers teachers and friends. Her main teacher, Lisa, teared up a little bit when hugging TLE goodbye. I had some problems holding back tears myself!
I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer in the classroom and have seen first hand how the teachers interact with the kids. One thing I really loved about the school was that the teachers really cared about the kids. They spend over 25 hours per week with the kids, more than most other preschool kids. That’s a lot of time for such small kids but the work that their teachers do with them is nothing short of amazing. I can’t thank them enough for being such an important part of TLE’s life for the past year.
In some ways, being part of this program has sort of spoiled us for other preschools. The teacher ratio is VERY low — about three kids per teacher — so each child got lots of special attention and support throughout the day. There was also a lot of support for their particular needs, like speech therapy and occupational therapy sessions, that were built in to each school day.
It was a bit of a shock — and disappointment — for me to realize that TLE will never, ever, get that kind of attention from a traditional school program ever again. Even the best private schools don’t have such specialized one on one attention. The exception, of course, would be to homeschool where she would receive all of the attention because she would be the only student… which is exactly what we’ll be doing.
Yep, we’ve made the decision to homeschool… at least for now. But more on that later