The school year is wrapping up for us. One more week and we will officially be done. We had our preschool graduation last Friday…saying good-bye to those kids, who have been a daily part of my life for the past nearly 300 days was difficult.

Back in August when I first took the position, I didn’t realize, completely, what I was getting into. I understood on the only level that I could. Having only worked part-time, not having an entire class to call my own.

The end of the school year has me at a loss for words. It has been an amazing year. Unpredictable and full of uncertainties, sure, but amazing nonetheless. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of energetic, spirited and spunky preschoolers. Getting to hang out with them, teach and learn beside them has been the highlight of each and every day. They will always hold a very special place in my heart.

I have learned, so much. I have learned more from them than they have learned from me. Sure, I have taught them letters, how to spell and write their names, how to get along with their classmates and how to sit still for a story. My teaching style isn’t one that many would agree with and many have openly critiqued me on how I have handled my class…

At the end of the day my goal was not to crush their spirits. It was not to force them to learn their letters. It was not to scare them into listening. It was to let them grow and experience life as a 3 or 4 year old.

We were loud, we were messy, we were crazy. There were some days I threw the plan out the window and just rolled with them. There were days when I pulled little piles of sobbing legs and arms onto my lap and wanted to cry with them. There were days when the smiles were so big and the laughter so loud that my cheeks hurt. There were so many moments that I will treasure.

I know that most of them will probably not remember their time with me. I know that most of them will not remember the stories and the crafts and the meltdowns. But I will. I will always and forever remember my preschool class of 2020-21. My first class. My first group. My wild, spirited bunch of preschoolers who could talk and talk and talk and talk.

As summer comes into view and my class dynamic prepares to change, I am holding this little bunch close in my heart and holding tight to the lessons they taught me this year. How to find the beauty in a dandelion, how to be absolutely blown away by the small things such as bugs. How to love your friends, so passionately (and then hate them in .02 seconds). How to bounce back. How to slow down.

…and in 2035, when these mini-graduates are full-grown graduates, I hope they still remember how to laugh…and find the beauty in the mundane, I hope their time in preschool helped give them a springboard for kindergarten. I hope I encouraged their little spirits and did my job as a preschool teacher well. I also hope that they will have mastered using their words and don’t melt down because ‘someone’s germs saw them’, but that is neither here nor there.

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