[By Nic Lindh on Saturday, 09 June 2007]
Today was a big day for Andrea—her last day at the preschool at the YMCA.
Even though she’s only been there for a year, the place has had a huge effect on her and on her parents. In short, while nothing is perfect, this has been the best pre-school experience we could possibly hope for for our daughter. With a caring staff, a good pedagogical program, and the resources of the YMCA available for “extracurricular” activities like swimming, tumbling, and ballet, it’s been fantastic to have her there.
A cupcake party on Andrea’s last day at the YMCA preschool.
Click for larger version.
The curse of the working couple who are parents is that most childcare places feel like child storage. Just a place where you drop your child off in the morning and pick up in the evening so you can work and actually afford to stay in your house and keep them from sleeping under a bridge. Not so the preschool program at the YMCA in Chandler/Gilbert.
Most of this I think is due to the Reggio Emilia approach the school follows. In short, it’s wonderful. If you’re a parent with a child or children or in a “regular” preschool, and you walk into one that follows the Reggio Emilia method, your jaw will drop. There is no comparison. In a Reggio Emilia school, the lights are muted and the classrooms looks like a home. In short, it’s the way you want your child to spend the day when you can’t spend it with her.
If you’re the parent of a toddler, I can not recommend highly enough that you try to find preschools that follow the Reggio Emilia approach in your area. Use the mighty Google, that’s what it’s there for. If you happen to be living in the Phoenix, AZ area, the preschool at the YMCA in Chandler/Gilbert is something you should definitely look into.
And no, this is not a paid commercial. Lord knows we have paid enough to have her in the program. But it has been absolutely wonderful for her and for her parents. In the words of Ali G, “respek!”
Your child moving from her preschool seems like the kind of thing that wouldn’t really affect you as a parent; after all, you’re the one who picked where she’s going and where she’s going to go. Nevertheless, it’s an emotional sledgehammer.
After this, her first graduation, Andrea will spend the next six weeks at summer camp at her daddy’s job, then two weeks at home with her mommy, and then Kindergarten begins.