We are getting ready for preschool to start for the fall, and I asked a child, “What did you like about your other school?” He said, “I liked EVERYTHING until I had to open the front door.”
I have been meeting with parents and children the past month, and I am amazed at how many preschoolers have already had a bad experience with school. I can somehow understand a high school student not enamored with his environmental science class or a middle school student dreading her technology class. I can even empathize with my college aged child not excited about a class with $355 worth of books. However, the idea that a four year old would dread a class that should involve love wrapped around some learning is just sad. For a child to know at age four that he does not want to enter the door of a school makes me question what is happening in that building.
I see children who are very attached to their parents, and separation anxiety is strong. I see children who have emotional issues who need extra care, and I see children who have not tried new experiences and can be timorous over a situation. All that can be handled with love. What is so sad to see is a teacher who does not embrace the little boy who is not interested in writing his name when there is a really cool truck in the room. Some teachers will get upset over little girls who are worried about painting because of their pretty, princess dresses Some teachers have classrooms filled with coloring in the lines worksheets when a whole world of exploration is calling to the class.
Teachers can make or break the spirit of a young child. A door to a school can be seen as a gateway to joy, or it can be seen as a prison door leading to misery. As a parent, we need to watch what doors we allow our children to enter. As parents, we can have the ability to change things as we enter doorways. We can turn bad experiences into good outcomes. We can enter a prison cell and find an exit door. We can help our children experience a revolving door, a screen door, a bifold door, a Dutch door and a handicapped accessible door. As we watch our children enter and exist doors in their lives, it is a perfect opportunity to think through all of our choices, consequences, outcomes and joys that were met with the pull of one handle. We all have more power when we exit or enter a door than we realize.
- What is a door you wish you never had opened?
- If you could pick any door in the world to walk through, what would it be?
- What can you do to make the other side of any door a positive experience?
- How can you help others walk through a door they may not want to open?
“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.” Graham Greene
The power of a preschooler can change a life…. if you let it.