by Mrs. Patricia Wojciechowski
Preschool programs offer much more than academics. Children who attend an early childhood program are exposed to daily opportunities for social, emotional, and physical development. Yes, it is important to learn how to spell and print, but at the age of three, it is more important to learn how to get along with other people. Attending a Catholic preschool program offers a bonus of daily spiritual development. We can share with our children the teachings of Jesus and our Catholic faith. Through prayers, attending monthly liturgy, songs, bible stories, and feast day celebrations, our children participate in meaningful and age appropriate activities.
Children learn by example. They watch and interact with other children in a classroom setting to develop social skills. They learn how to share with toys, care for others when someone is sad, and ultimately to make good choices on their own.
In the three-year old classroom, children do not see differences in race, gender, or physical abilities to choose who to play with, sit next to, or walk hand-in-hand around the play yard. Each day it is someone different who is their friend to work with to finish a puzzle or create a masterpiece with play dough.
Teaching this age group is not easy, but I can say personally it’s my favorite. I have taught for many years—children from preschool through sixth grade. This year is unique as I have some of my own former students’ children! I have always believed that apple trees make apples—now I have proof!
When working with early childhood students you must have patience. Also, a good sense of humor helps! You can’t get upset when someone spills paint on that new pair of pants you wore to school for the first time or when someone “gets sick” on your favorite shoes!
At the end of the school day, when the last little one has left my care, I can sit back and recall a million moments that made this a great day!