It began like this. And, in less than 2 weeks, it will end. B’s time in preschool (Kindergarten) has taken him from crying, timid and not wanting to participate to happy, enthusiastic, and the best German speaker in our family. We have had a wonderful experience with his school and teachers, and I will be very sorry to see his time there end.
This week, to celebrate the end of the school year (unofficially — since it’s a preschool, it’s open year-round) and the passage of the Vorschulekinder (preschoolers) on to elementary school, B’s class had a big party. Each of the graduating kids got to stand up in front of the class and receive a Schultüte — which is a big paper cone full of fun and practical stuff. In this case, the teachers made and decorated the cones themselves. Inside, they included sweets and useful things for school next year — new markers, pencils, colored pencils, and a new pencil sharpener. And then they all went out for ice cream (B had strawberry).
B was so proud of his Schultüte, and so proud of himself. He carried it all the way home, and opened it in complete delight. (Poor Liam had a little breakdown — it’s so hard to be the little brother, especially when the big brother gets something cool and you don’t. B shared a little of his candy, but it still was tough.)
But perhaps the best part of the graduation celebration came in a little bunch of paper, loosely and precariously attached together. In it, the teachers had compiled a scrapbook — of Benjamin’s time at school, of his writing practices and art projects. There were drawings, painted handprints, and pictures from field trips. Just regular preschool stuff, but all collected together. They had been keeping some of these things from the very beginning of his time there.
I think teachers are generally amazing. While I sometimes struggle to manage just my two, the teachers at my boys’ school (and all teachers, everywhere) manage 10 times that many, with a patience and authority I sincerely admire. They have reinforced polite manners, practiced taking turns, taken them on adventures and kissed their boo-boos. They’ve helped see us through potty training, introduced our whole family holidays and traditions we’ve never seen before, and taught B an entirely new language. And they have done it all with a tremendous amount of love. The book they put together for him was further evidence of that love. It is an amazing gift.
B will go on next year to elementary school. But I don’t think he could have been given a better start than he got at this school. He has been fortunate to have had some wonderful teachers. I feel lucky that Liam will still be at this school, so we don’t really have to say goodbye quite yet.