May Starts Montessori

We just finished hosting Adele’s birthday party. There are a lot of photos that I would like to share from that event, but I wanted to be sure to get May’s big day squeezed in first.

I have a lot to say on the subject of May going to preschool, but I don’t want to be controversial. Basically, I don’t believe in preschool. I think that young children should stay at home with their parents. There, I said it! Start stoning me, modern professional women!!! And yet, for reasons, well, actually kinda for no reason, we decided to try out two days of preschool a week. It’s an experiment!

The daycare on NYUAD’s campus (just downstairs in our building) is full, so we chose a Montessori nursery just next door to Adele’s school; it is still quite convenient.

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May’s first day was a couple of weeks ago. She was very excited, as she has taken her sister to school everyday for a year and always asks when she can go to school too. Adele was excited for May as well and offered to read her a book in the morning.

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It’s a constant love fest between these two sisters.

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After running down the hallway to the elevator, Adele stops to whisper some great secret into May’s ear. Giggles, giggles, giggles.

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Once off the elevator, we stopped to take some “First Day of Preschool” pictures, because I knew the camera would fog up once we stepped outside.

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And just as we were snapping her portrait…

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…the weight of her backpack knocked her off her feet. Haha, classic.

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This was not a bad picture, considering how hot and humid it was outside.

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But here is my favorite portrait. Look at that face. Look at those eyes!!!

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At home, May has not shown much interest in puzzles (whereas Adele was doing them at a younger age). At her preschool, they seem to be her favorite thing to do! They were the first thing that she gravitated towards on her very first day and that pattern has held true with each subsequent morning.

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May was doing perfectly well with her own puzzle when over toddles this little boy to MANSPLAIN it to her. Haha, oh, thaaaat’s where the turtle shell goes?

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Isabella, the girl on the right, is the little sister of Adele’s friend Julius, who was in her class last year at Cranleigh. So Bella was a familiar face on May’s first day. It also helps that she is AMAZINGLY outgoing and loving and has taken May under her wing. The two on the left are twins Kayan and Ayesha. They’re a little bit older and will give me the 411 on how May was during the day at school. Julia is in the middle. I don’t know her so well yet, but she’s caught my attention, because she was wearing red lipstick yesterday morning! My kinda gal!

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Here are May, Isabella, and Julia with the two teachers, Ms. Nisreen and Ms. Beejal. They are both native Arabic speakers and speak in both languages to all the children. It’s possible that May is currently learning more Arabic than Adele is.

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And here is one of the things I love about a Montessori education. They make the practical life fun. Kayan has chosen to wash the windows, because the squeegee is fun! And May has come home more enthusiastic about cleaning up, so I certainly am not going to argue with that.

I am, however, going to argue with a lot of things. This school is perfectly lovely. The teachers are great and I really like the other children in May’s class. I certainly love the free time it affords me, BUT…I just don’t “get” preschool. BIG SIGH. Like I said above, I don’t want to go into it. I know that I am in the vast minority with my parenting philosophy. Well, probably not in the global minority, but among my peer group, yes, the vast minority. So it’s not an argument I’m going to win.

I will say this: despite whatever misgivings I have about the idea of daycare, if May is happy, I will make my peace with it. So far, she has been heart-breakingly sad at drop-off and deliriously happy at pick-up (not in the sense that she’s so happy that I’ve finally returned, but happy that she’s had a really great day of play learning and doesn’t want to leave). So it’s a bit confusing and I know I have to give it more time.

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