Monday, November 7, 2011

Valley Parent Preschool (VPPS)

Ben started preschool early September at Valley Parent Preschool here in Danville. It is a parent co-op preschool, which means that every child's parent who attends participates in the classroom and on various boards. My responsibilities there include working in the classroom two days a month (the same number of days per week my child attends school), serving on a committee and committing 30 hours of my time throughout the school year in this role (I am on the ever-so-fun social committee), and volunteering five hours per school year to the maintenance of the school. Not only are co-ops a great way to keep crazy preschool costs down but it also is a great way to really be an active participant in your child's early education. I am grateful that I am in the position that I am available to work in Ben's classroom in a co-op
function. At first I was weary if me working in the classroom was the best thing for Ben (his behavior when I was at school was less than desirable at first). But the last two times I worked he could barely care less that I was there. Which meant that I got to observe him in his environment as he normally is on those days I simply drop him off.
Another thing I enjoy about the preschool is that it is a play-based preschool. Which means that a large majority of the time spent there is dedicated to free-choice play. Play that is specifically designed to help the children learn, explore, and discover using all of their senses. The kids are free to choice which activities they want to participate in or not participate in. A portion of the time is also spent in small groups doing dedicated lessons and activities as organized by teachers.
Since starting I have seen Ben grow in various ways. While he hasn't completely branched out socially with the other kids yet, he does talk some of his teacher's ears off (mostly teacher Vicki). He also surprisingly really enjoys doing the art projects there and has become more creative at home, requesting that we do "crafty" things at home. He is constantly wanting to cut things now with his little safety scissors. A magazine and his scissors have provided hours of entertainment for him. I can also see that he takes such pride in his art as he usually can't wait to show me what he made. His imagination has also vastly grown since starting. He now has some wonderful imaginary friends (i.e. Sally, Mater, and Lightening McQueen), enjoys role playing (band practice, going to meetings), and has discovered the joy in building forts, which he often refers to as his house or his gym. I am proud of my little preschooler and can't wait to see how preschool will continue to enrich his life and expand his little mind.

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