Sometimes you know you are in the place you are meant to be. It could be fate, or luck, or a little of both that brought you to that place, but once you’re there, you can’t imagine being anywhere else.
I realized early on that the happiness and security I felt at my children’s preschool made it a special place. As an overwhelmed mom and overall preoccupied person who frequently forgets why I’m at the grocery store, or where I’m going in the car, being at the school made me feel grounded and valued and present. It was a place where my kids received genuine nurture and support, how could I not love a place like that?It’s true that some of my adoration stems from the actual location of the school, being that it sits on a beautiful sea island and is only steps from the ocean.
But more than the physical location, it’s the people who make the preschool such an amazing place. The small staff cultivates an excitement for learning fostered by patience, creativity and an understanding of each child’s needs and abilities. I felt grateful to have such caring, talented women teaching my kids, and thankful for the opportunity to get to know each one on a personal level.
When I felt unsure as a parent, or concerned about certain behavior from my son or daughter, I always found their honest feedback helpful and reassuring. They watched my daughter blossom from a bald little two-year-old fighting to keep up with her older brother to an exuberant four-year-old embracing her independence.
A great place for the kids, and also for me
In addition to a great location and wonderful teachers, this place gave me what I needed most — friends. When we moved here, it was my first time not working. It was daunting not knowing anyone. I randomly found this preschool, and signed up immediately since it was late summer and other schools around town already had wait lists. Obviously, it was the best impulsive decision I ever made.
I’ve already covered the many ways the school was great for my kids, but another reason I love it so much is that it attracts great parents. All the moms I met were friendly and sincere. I never felt judged wearing the same workout clothes multiple times a week (even though it was pretty clear that I wasn’t working out). It took time to develop relationships: what started out as playground play dates progressed into house play dates, then meetups at festivals or the beach or the library or strawberry picking or going out to eat.
This past school year, my daughter was friends with all nine other kids in her class. We played after school, even on the weekends, and when the school hosted a movie night for the kids one Friday, a group of moms and dads met at the beach and enjoyed the sunset over cheese and wine. After an epic girls night out — filled with laughter and Real Mom Talk — I felt privileged to know such intelligent, kind, hard-working, funny and down-to-earth women, and to call them my friends.
Like so many places that claim a spot in your heart — your childhood home, your first apartment — you can’t stay there forever. After three years, my daughter graduated last month and we had to say goodbye to the sunny little preschool by the sea. Although I am sad that come August I won’t be going back and won’t see my friends there, I believe the bonds that we built will stay strong and we will still get together often.
Having a preschool that was the right fit for us made such a difference in our lives. I hope that every parent is able to find a place that provides encouragement and wonder at such an important time in the development and growth of the whole family.