Starting school

This morning I  chatted with a dad whose 3-year-old child was about to board a school bus to go to his preschool in a public school district. The little boy had never set eyes on his new teacher, nor had the parents.

Why would a school think this is okay? First of all, this little boy had the advantage of having taken the bus to the same school for the summer (not the same teacher however). So that helped. But what about other children, who have never been on a bus? What about the teacher and parents?

As a teacher, I felt that meeting and getting to know parents was a crucial part of my practice and benefited the children immeasurably. I wanted to see parents each day, to chat with them, to share a story about something their child discovered or created. I was also available to parents so that they could keep me posted on any concerns or about happy family news. As a parent of a preschooler and kindergartner, I wanted to know the teacher, be familiar with the classroom, the school’s philosophy and to meet other parents. We were lucky to find a preschool that made a point of embracing parents and fostering strong relationships among children, families and staff. The children knew that the teachers and families were “friends.”

I understand that parents are working and cannot always be at the school for pick up, but what sort of culture is it that says 3-year-old children are “on their own” and relationships are not important? Have we completely lost sight of how young these children are and how important the family is? I just feel sad.

In contrast, an article about Finland.





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