Thursday, January 21, 2010

Off to School

Mommy spent most of yesterday at preschool. The bulk of the morning I spent working at our open house for families interested in attending Westminster next year. For some reason (maybe the level of education in our area due to D.C.??? who knows) getting into preschool here is like applying to an ivy league college (or so I imagine it is what applying to an ivy league college is like, seeing as I have no experience in that.) There are so many good schools in this area - for crying out loud it's just preschool! - but there really are plenty of places for children to have a fun experience and grow and learn along the way. WWP has a reputation as one of the better preschools in this area- who can argue with that!?! - so attendance is high at the open house. Yesterday, talking to all those parents looking for the right place for the children I felt so lucky. We did find the right place for Lily (and Imogene one day) and it was all because we found the right church first! I did not envy all those parents going through the preschool process! I was also reminded how much Lily cried at the beginning of the year when she was in the 2 1/2 class, and how now she walks in the school like she owns the place, and greets all the teachers and most of the students by name - just as if she was standing next to her locker in high school! And then barely says good-bye to Mommy or Daddy. Next year she'll go to the 4 year old program Monday-Friday. I hesitated about sending her 4 or 5 days. Both sets of teachers are wonderful. But I think Lily will do beautifully with the two teachers in the 5 day class, and to be honest, it will be nice to have that extra day for Imogene's therapy sessions or doctor appointments or even - dare I say? - a baby music class or swimming or something else fun for Imogene to do all her own!
For the last 20 minutes of the school day I went into Lily's room and helped her make an igloo out of a Styrofoam cup, sugar cubes and icing. Very cute and all the kids were hysterical - covered in icing and spending half their time making the igloos, the other half eating the icing!
And then finally, last night was the "Conscious Discipline" parenting class that the preschool director and Lily's teacher for next year are holding. The program is run by a woman named Becky Bailey. We have one of her books, Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline, already. Attending the workshop has furthered what is in the book with ideas and techniques for helping Lily through the trials and tribulations of childhood (and one day Imogene). Dr. Bailey's program helps parents (and teachers) learn to discipline themselves before their children - by doing things as simple as taking a deep breath and relaxing before tackling a tantrum! Who knew you needed to be reminded of breathing and relaxing! Well, I do! The program has 7 skills and 7 'powers' - the first are the Skill of Composure (i.e. breathing!) and the Power of Perception - regarding how we let the outside world control how we feel on the inside. Probably not explaining it very well - but I highly recommend Becky Bailey to any parents or teachers out there! Lily really isn't a 'behavior problem,' but it's been so good to put into practice things that will help all of us now, and give both girls tools to deal with themselves and others as they grow!
Yet another example of what an amazing place Westminster is, and how lucky we are to be in that family.

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