30 Aug Back to School!
Summer is winding down and it’s almost time for back-to-school! September is my absolute favorite time of year, which might have a little something to do with why I chose education as my career.
Growing up, I loved buying school supplies, back-to-school clothes and getting a new lunchbox. I couldn’t wait to meet my new teacher and I clearly recall role-playing the first day of school with my stuffed animals and dolls in the weeks leading up to school. I remember, vividly, my very first teacher, even her name.
For ten years I enjoyed being a classroom teacher of 2-year-olds and that back-to-school excitement remained. As a teacher, I was excited about getting my classroom ready to greet a handful of little, smiling faces. Such a big responsibility! I would be their first teacher, this would be their first school experience, and I would help shape how they felt about school in the years to come. I’m pretty sure you probably remember your first teacher’s name and I hope the hundreds of children I welcomed into the Sun Room throughout the years will remember mine.
Starting school, especially in the 2s, is a meaningful, important experience for both children and their parents and I was honored to help both parties embark on this exciting chapter of their lives. Story has it, I had a tough time separating in nursery school myself (it was suggested that perhaps I wasn’t ready and should try again the following year but, instead, persevered and all went well!). As a teacher, I wanted all of the children in my classroom to feel safe and secure. A huge part of making this happen is ensuring that parents also felt confident and comfortable with me and my team. As we know, children often look to their trusted grownups for social cues. The biggest piece of this puzzle is establishing open communications and dialogue so that teacher and parents are on the same page.
In my own home, my 3-year-old will start his second year of preschool. Due to a move this summer, he will be attending a new school this fall. In some ways, it feels like his first school experience all over again! I try hard to remember everything I used to tell the parents of children entering my classroom. I remind myself of the gift I am giving my son. A chance to make friends and form relationships with other grownups besides his family and other caregivers. An opportunity to enjoy social and learning experiences that he won’t have at home. To explore his independence and creativity and have a special place that is his! It is also a time when parents get to extend their circle of friends and forge lasting relationships, expanding their “village” – something I am really looking forward to doing more of this year.
At Montclare, I see first-hand the dedication of all of our teachers as they prepare to open their classroom doors and usher in a new group of children each September. Each year, they welcome parents and caregivers and share with them all of the wonderful things their children will experience while in their care.
Of course there are days when I miss having a classroom of my own… But it is such a pleasure to walk through the halls of Montclare. I love visiting our joyful classrooms, each with its own unique feel. All filled with so much love and warmth.
To all the parents getting ready to bring their little ones to their first day of school – enjoy this day! If you are at Montclare, come see me at the door for a back-to-school hug!
Ashley Warren enjoyed being a classroom teacher for ten years before becoming Admissions Director of Montclare Children’s School. A mother of two young children, Ashley has an M.S. in Early Childhood Education, and loves working with families and their children!