A wake-up call as a parent

I knew the mistake I made after I had a parent-teacher conference about Mike in February 2012. I didn’t take preschool serious enough. I allowed my son to skip preschool to visit his grandparents out-of-town because it was “stressful” at home.

I was shocked by how my son was developing and what he didn’t know. At age three and a half, he didn’t know his last name or age. He couldn’t alternate his feet on steps, count past five or sit still during story time.

He could identify a triangle and circle and six colors, complete puzzles on his own and sometimes share toys with classmates and respond to his name. He knew he was a boy but he did not join the boys when the boys and girls were separated.

The teacher, who also was the director, said Mike needed to repeat the 3-year-old class. Two therapists who assisted Mike in class through a state early intervention program told me that he needed to move on to the next class. Mike’s preschool teacher from his 2-year-old program also wanted him to repeat that class.

I said no to the teachers. I would not hold my son back in preschool because he needed to be around more mature kids so he developed more socially. At home, I saw on a daily basis how Mike got in trouble, trying to entertain his brother 19 months younger than him. No thank you to that type of nonsense in preschool.

After finishing my crying over where my son stood in his class, I decided to take charge of my son’s education. It is not the preschool’s job alone to prepare my son for kindergarten. Parents have an equal responsibility for this job.

Kids can’t be dropped off preschool and magically be ready for kindergarten when they walk down the aisle for preschool graduation. Story time at bedtime is no longer enough nor is letting kids play with Play-Doh, scissors and markers whenever parents feel like dealing with the mess.

So, I finally got out of the closet a dusty $100 preschool book set.  The six books from Southwestern Company covers shapes, colors, numbers and words children need to know when entering kindergarten.

I bought the set from a young college girl selling door-to-door. I didn’t want to say no and thought maybe I would use the books one day.

That day came the night of the disappointing parent-teacher conference. Mike completely opened up to these books. This started a journey as my son’s nighttime teacher that still hasn’t ended.

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