MOODY: Preschool: Learning about more than letters

Susan Moody, Emerald Coast Insider

It’s the end of an era at our house.

After six fantastic years of praise notes, playgrounds, and packed lunches, we’re done with preschool. Harper heads off to kindergarten next year, and I have to admit I’m feeling rather melancholy about the end of our time at preschool.

While I know that she is more than ready for “big girl school," I imagine that many parents have mixed emotions about starting this exciting new chapter. I, like so many other parents who entrusted the care and well-being of my little ones to someone else for part of the week, am eternally grateful for the love, support, and encouragement her teachers have shown her.

Harper learned a lot at preschool. She knows how to write her name, she knows her letters, and her prayers. She can sing in English and Spanish. She learned how to be a good friend and she understands the importance of sharing. The women who cared for her every day over the last four years opened their hearts to her, and she embraced them fully. But Harper wasn’t the only one who learned a lot from her time in preschool. I learned some valuable lessons as well.

I learned that Okaloosa County could re-nourish every beach in Destin and Fort Walton with the sand that preschoolers trap in their sneakers. I learned that no matter how well you shake out their shoes before they get into the car, piles and piles will forever live between your car seats.

Before preschool, I thought blocks were for building, but now I know they are about math. I though art was made with paint, and crayons, and markers, but now I know that beautiful things are made with tape, bottle tops, leaves, Q-tips and glitter glue.

Preschool taught us that beauty was where you find it, and in order to find it, you’d better be looking for it. I leaned that being “snack friend” was about more than sharing your favorite foods with your friends and that it was responsibility not to be taken lightly. Good snack friends remember that some kids can’t eat nuts, others don’t like gummies, but everyone likes lemonade.

I’m appreciative of every time one of the teachers reminded Harper to get her hair out of her eyes and then conveniently supplied an appropriately sparkled hair elastic or barrette. Preschool teachers are endless suppliers of tissues for running noses and Band-Aids for boo-boos, both real and imagined. Most importantly, preschool teachers have patience in spades, and they generously shared theirs when my own supply was low.

Harper’s teachers found joy in her quirks and in her spunk. They reframed “stubbornness” into “persistence” and “determination” and they encouraged her creativity and her kindness.

They never judged when she so proudly announced that M was for monkey, moustache and margarita, and they encouraged her to sing loudly and make a joyful noise, even when the words were wrong. I will forever remember the fruits of the spirit, and make every effort to incorporate her favorite principles, peace, love, joy, faithfulness, self-control, kindness, and gentleness, into my daily life.

We ended up at our preschool by chance. They had a spot, and I needed childcare for Alex. Little did I know that I would find the school that embraced my children and my family so fully. So yes, I’m a little sad that our time is coming to end, but I’m sure that she is ready for her next big adventure. I might even miss the sand.

Follow Susan Moody on Twitter @susanjmoody and visit her blog, The Emerald Coast Insider, at