- To push in their chairs when they stand up from their tables.
- To open one item at a time from their lunch boxes.
- To put their shoes neatly in their cubbies.
- To carry 2 shoes in one hand.
- To wash their hands with one (and only one) pump of soap.
- To say “please” and “thank you” and “help me” and “can I go to the bathroom” and “hello” and “goodbye” in French, with such consistency that the kids who have never been to school in French are already saying them.
- To try new things with courage and determination.
- To write their name on their work.
- To put their scissors and glue away when their work is done.
- To love books, and to explore them with such an eye for detail.
- To take care of books and put them gently back on the shelf.
- To listen raptly to stories and songs.
- To notice the colours and shapes of things.
- To follow a visual schedule
- To keep track of their own belongings.
- To put their shoes on the right feet (at least some of the time!)
- To choose a healthy snack.
- To know the difference between snack and lunch.
- To look out for one another on the playground.
- To walk the hallways of our very large building with confidence and purpose.
- To trust that school is a wonderful and safe place, where they belong and are welcome.
Thank you for showing these children, with everything you say and do, that the adults in a classroom are there to help them. They have arrived on my doorstep with perfect confidence that if they are unsure or worried or scared or upset or struggling, I will help them. Their faith is so perfect that they do not hesitate to ask for help, or to announce that they are having trouble. They are not embarrassed to be learning, they are not hiding their mistakes. They are hanging them out there for all to see, trusting that this is a place where mistakes are okay, where second chances are readily available, and where there is always an opportunity to try again.
And above and beyond all of this: thank you, for loving these children so well and so thoroughly that their expectation of school is just that: love. For holding them and hugging them, smiling at them and laughing with them so often and with such enthusiasm that, when they arrived at my door just 3 short days ago, their love was right there bubbling at the surface. I’m just not sure that I can think of a better definition of school readiness than for a child to arrive at school prepared and expecting to love and be loved.
So, thank you, dear preschool colleagues. The work you do is undervalued and underpaid, but please, please know: it is not unappreciated. You have polished these little ones up so bright and shiny. The responsibility of keeping that shine alive is both humbling and inspiring.
Happy September, friends.