I've filled in the forms and submitted our paper work for Otis to start school next year. He'll start in February 2014, just before he turns three. Otis will start in the 3-6 class, Cycle One. For many children three is the age they enter preschool. The advantage of Montessori is that he will have the same teacher, the same classroom for the next three years. I love that continuity.
Being the second child in our family Otis is already familiar with the school, the classrooms and many of the children, parents and teachers at the school. Being a part of the school's parent-toddler program means that he already has a relationship with the parent-toddler guide (pictured above). We don't have any family living nearby. We have grandparents who visit and lots of adult friends, but that one on one relationship with another adult is something very special and for our family it starts at school - with our teachers.
When Caspar goes to sleep at night we mention all the people we love. 'We love Daddy, we love Nana, we love Otis' and often he mentions his teacher. She is a significant person in his life. Our children have never had a babysitter, they have never been to daycare. The first time they will be looked after by someone other than myself or my husband is at school. School is the very first place they will discover themselves as individuals outside of the family. They become a part of and form their own community. They are finding their place in the world. I love that. I'm thankful for that.
Of course for every family it's different. Everyone has different interactions and community structures. For many children there will be other relationships that are dominate. I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to Otis yet and we've still got plenty of time to prepare. I know I need to mentally prepare to let him go. Right now I'm enjoying watching him form those bonds, watching him build trust in the teachers and our school community. I loving how his eyes light up when he sees some of his favourite people at school, how he smiles, giggles and runs away from his future teachers. How he already knows their names, and they know his. How very fortunate we are.