I cannot express just how much I have enjoyed having both my kids in a parent participation preschool. This was a new concept to me until I had my daughter Amaani.
What is a Parent Participation Preschool? For us, it looked like this…
At 5 months, I put Amaani in a Wiggles Class. All the babies would play with toys and do tummy time together while the parents would discuss different topics each week like ‘How to Sleep Train Baby,’ ‘How to Start Feeding Baby Solids,’ etc. Then we would sing songs with babies, have some free play and free time for the parents to talk to each another. The class would close with bubbles, circle time and a goodbye song. I am now taking my son to this class and he loves looking at the other babies!
AGE 1-2 YEARS
At this age, preschool was two hours a day, one day a week. The toddlers got to play outside, do multiple art projects, do songs and dancing in circle time, eat snacks together in regular chairs (not high chairs!) and go on field trips.
The best part was seeing my daughter grow with the same kids, one who is her best friend. At the beginning of the school year the kids could not drink water in regular cups. Together, by the end of the year they were drinking water without spilling and they were serving their own snacks. As a parent, I could re-enforce the lessons learned in class- at home.
AGE 2-3 YEARS
At this age, preschool is 3 hours, two days a week. On one of those days I am a ‘work’ mom. Work moms have different responsibilities like bringing snacks, setting up art stations, watching the kids play outside, etc. My daughter LOVES this class. And the best part? I can bring my baby boy with me too!
I get to dance and sing with my kiddos. I watch Amaani do at least 3 art projects a day usually relating to the current holidays and seasons. She learned how to count and recognize letters in this class. She goes on educational field trips. She explores different musical instruments.
Not only is Amaani learning, but I am too. The parents get to go to discussion one day a week where the teacher shares topics like “Age Appropriate Behaviors” “Temper Tantrums,” “Teaching Children to go Potty,” and “Empowering Your Child to be Capable.”
Overall, the parent participation aspect has planted so much confidence and independence in Amaani and at the same time been an incredible bonding experience for both of us. The school believes in play-based learning so she is learning so much every week but the learning happens in a fun way. Moments when I witness her reach new milestones….or when I get to watch her go on a field trip to the farm or to the post office and mail her first letter …or watch as she and her friends put Valentine’s in each other’s hand-made mailboxes…bring the biggest smile on my face! The whole experience has been priceless.