We have two children at Banner ?? and each time I walk one of my boys into his classroom, I feel like I am leaving him with the kindest, warmest, most creative and genuine group of moms I know, moms who happen to have degrees in early childhood education. Each morning when we arrive at school (and also when we leave), my children are welcomed by Adell Kabins, the school??s director, who stands at the front door and greets each child by name. This routine does not vary. It??s the same, smiling familiar face every morning, and I have learned that my children rely on and enjoy this familiarity to feel a sense of security about going to school. Once inside, the teachers welcome my children to school, and there is such a sense of joy, happiness and excitement that Banner teachers bring each day. (At first, I wondered if they all did a couple of shots of espresso each morning.) But in all seriousness, they make each child feel like a rock star, as if the day simply could not begin until that child arrived at school.
One drizzly March morning, I returned to school after drop off to leave something in my child??s locker. I followed the lively music coming from down the hall to the gym where all the children were assembled, intently watching Irish dancers. Another day on the way home from preschool, my four-year-old told me all about how to make French crepes, after one of the moms (who is indeed French) came to school to show the class how she made them. When I met with one of my son??s teachers for the parent-teacher conference (Banner has these twice a year, another thing I love about this school), I was shown a photo of my son watching the Wilmette Fire Department show all the different hoses and sirens on one of their trucks. These little surprise activities were not announced or revealed as part of some preschool curriculum. It??s just part of the way that Banner works: Let??s learn about St. Patrick??s Day and have Irish dancers perform; let??s teach them about food from France by having a mom demonstrate her French culinary skills; and likewise, let??s teach a little fire safety by having our local firemen demonstrate to the children what they do each day.
My goal with sending my children to preschool is to make them love learning and be excited about school. When I hear my children ask, ??Am I going to preschool?? in the morning with a smile on their faces, I know we??re achieving that goal.