Today Ella turned 28 months old, and it was also her first day of school. Whew, big day! We have some big changes coming up around here. Steve starts his new job on Monday, so we needed to decide on childcare for her. We chose a 5-star preschool in our town, and we're both really comfortable with it. Her classroom is just 24-30 month olds, and she is the 6th student.
The first time we went to visit after work one day, and it was just the owner, me, Ella and her teacher. I instantly knew how much I liked it - the center is great, the classrooms are adorable, and Ella seemed really comfortable there. Plus there are 2 playgrounds with up to 2 hours of outdoor play each a day, which is pretty much Ella's main requirement (although me and Steve have some others :)). The teacher was so sweet and I really liked her.
The next day Steve took Ella back during the morning to check it out while the kids were there, and he felt as good about it as I did, but said Ella seemed really nervous. At one point, all the kids were sitting in a circle on the mat singing a song, and Ella was off by herself pushing the shopping cart...it made me so sad to think of her all by herself and not getting along with the kids. Regardless, we both really liked it and couldn't think of a situation we'd be happier with, so we signed her up and started getting Ella prepared for her big day!
Even though Steve does not start until Monday, we wanted to give her a bit of transition time to a full day of school since it's going to be such a big adjustment. We were out of town on Monday and so we figured we'd give her Tuesday as her last full day with Steve, then start today. So, for a while now we've been talking about school, how much fun she's going to have, all the things she's going to do, the friends she'll make, all the playing, etc. It really seems to have worked because by last night she was telling me "Ella wake up school time!"
Of course me and Steve were way more nervous about the whole thing - I could barely sleep the last two nights thinking about it!
Since today is a milestone in my eyes, I thought a wake-up picture was in order
She talked about "school time" while we got dressed and then I asked her how she wanted to wear her hair. She surprised me by saying "tails", usually she always wants "betts" (barettes) but I was very happy to oblige
I forgot how much is involved in getting ready to get out the door on a schedule in the morning. Steve made her lunch, I made my lunch and we fed her breakfast all at the same time. There was also so much we had to bring since it was her first day and I've been organizing and labeling for a few nights.
Me and my little preschooler!!
She was really excited and cheerful all morning but I was getting more and more nervous that she'd get upset when it was time to drop her off. We told her that she was going to play, go outside on the playground, eat a snack, play some more, and that after lunch Daddy would come pick her up. She seemed pretty satisfied with this idea but we didn't know if she'd be shocked when it came time to leave her there.
Here she is outside the school
With her buddy Tee-tee
There were 4 kids there when we got there and they were sitting at the table playing nicely with blocks, it looked so orderly and calm. Steve went with the director to put her lunch away and I stayed with Ella. She got a little clingy and nervous but only for a minute or two. I asked her if she wanted to go play blocks and she went right over to the table and climbed up on a chair. This little boy Spencer instantly started talking to her, and she began chatting right back. She was so comfortable and happy! After a few minutes she got up and started walking around and Spencer just followed her around and kept talking - they seemed to be instant buddies!
When it was time to leave she seemed completely comfortable. She gave us both kisses and said goodbye but didn't seem sad at all and instead was busy with her new fun. We couldn't believe it. I was honestly bursting with pride at what a wonderful little kiddo we've been blessed with. She makes me so proud of her and I just couldn't believe how well she handled it this morning. My goodness!
All morning I was dying to hear how she did and I was not disappointed when I talked to Steve once he got her. Her teacher said she did great and was a 'social butterfly' that did everything with the class.
In her Activity Report for the day she got a "participated" in every activity, she used the potty once and ate almost all of her lunch. She helped clear the table after snack, practiced the yoga move "both feet" (not sure what that one is, she'll have to teach me), practiced passing boxes to her friends, sang a song, played puzzles, and did 'textile creative expression' with cooked and uncooked colored pasta. What a busy day, and she was only there for the morning!
When I talked to her on the phone she said "Ella's school time is done" and then I said "what did you think?" and she said "I liked it." So great!
Tomorrow she'll stay through nap time, I think that might be tricky because she's never slept on a mat before, but we'll see, she's amazed us so far so she may continue to. I definitely think it'll get tougher as she realizes it's every day and pretty soon will be full day each day, but she could not have impressed us any more for her first day of school!!