Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Why I Love Cooper's New School....

It's not like I am unexperienced at preschools.  After all, this is preschool number four in as many states.  But I am pretty blown away by this new one ... and here is why.

It is a Montessori school.  Truth be told, I wasn't really sure how that would go sounded a bit "granola" to me, but what the heck?  I am not the one who has to wrangle all those kids...whatever works for you.  Well... it turns out their method is not only effective but pretty zen.  A certain four year old boy that is still adjusting to a move and a newly employed mother could use a little zen.  I admit to reading up a bit on this Maria Montessori.  Cool lady.... WAY ahead of her time.  I can relate =)

It is intergenerational.  It is inside of a retirement community that houses everything from independent senior living to assisted living to a skilled nursing facility.  This place has a beauty parlor, radio station, restaurants and farmers markets..... and a preschool. 

The classroom are adjacent to a therapy gym ... where (all my therapy friends can attest) ALOT of action takes place.  Those smart therapists use the classroom to "lure" their clients to come down and read to the kids, demonstrate yoga poses, or feed the ducks with very enthusiastic helpers.  As a therapist, I marvel at the way weight-shifting, balance work, or gait training become much more FUNctional within the contexts of "playing with" the children. 

The kids gain so much as well....a grandparent figure, exposure (and reduced fear) to walkers, wheelchairs and people who like to ruffle their hair.  These "buddies" are kind, patient, and have a wealth of information to impart.  They also like to have snacks and frequent the restroom.... according to that same certain four year old boy. =)

There are trains (indoors and out), gardens (fully tended to by children and "buddies" alike) and paved trails outside for all to enojoy.  I hear about cooking, play dough work, and book reading.  The fact that these activities are shared with people who differ in age by 70-80 years is an added bonus.  It means a lot to me that older men are sharing with my boy the value of a strong handshake and how to speak more loudly so all may hear you.  Those are life skills ... and experience is a strong teacher.

 So...when I feel badly about leaving him to go work with other people's children, I do know he is in excellent hands.  Many hands, older hands, patient hands, and wrinkled hands ... but someone is holding his.  Until I can. 


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