I was contacted by a fellow North Vancouver mama who was hoping to spread the word about the preschool that her child attends. Finding the right preschool for your child(ren) can be nerve-racking and challenging at times. I thought it would be useful for parents to hear about one preschool in particular from the perspective of a parent whose child currently attends Seymour Heights Parent Participation Preschool. (Please note- these are the experiences of my guest, Emina. The following was written solely by her, as I have no personal experience with the school myself. It sounds lovely though!)
Even if you live in North Vancouver, unless your children have attended the Seymour Heights Parent Participation Preschool, you have probably not heard about this little gem of a preschool. You might have passed it on your way to drop off your children at Seymour Dance, or on your way to the Bubble; you might have wondered about its cute mural; but you were probably not sure what it really was. Tucked away in a little pocket close to Ron Andrews Rec Centre, this preschool is quite unassuming at first glance, but to the parents and children that have attended it, this preschool means the world.
Parents attending a preschool? Oh, YES!!!…If you are a SHPPP parent, you are not in for an easy ride, trust me. You commit to a number of things: participating in the classroom once every two weeks as the Teacher’s assistant; attending parent education and general meetings once a month; running the preschool with all the other parents by taking a job and keeping up with your job tasks; and… having FUN in the process! (As a side effect, you also become actively engaged in your child’s development and education; become an active member in your local community; build a rock-strong attachment with your children that no peer or other influence can touch; take the time to play with, listen and respect your children; and … set some pretty high expectations for yourself as a parent, and then meet them, of course).
The preschool is a member of the Council of Parent Participation Preschools in British Columbia, and it receives strong direction from the Council, but everything is run and done by parents.
The parent participation philosophy is something I have always believed in without even knowing it. Also, everything I know and believe in as a parent today has been reinforced by this preschool’s philosophy. I am also not the only adult in our family that “attends” the preschool. Our whole family does: when my “real” job hours and responsibilities increased, the Dad stepped in by meeting his parent education orientation requirement and stepping into the classroom as a real pro; when my job increased from part-time to full-time, Grandma took my place; and our Grandpa has always been involved with drop-offs and pick-ups and special events attendance. The whole family has come together here for the same cause. And our relationships have become stronger and more meaningful in the process.
We have put hours of volunteering into this preschool, and never ever thought the time was not well spent. Every minute we have devoted to it has multiplied in terms of how much we have got in return. I am proud to say that I now know how to pick good from not-so-good children books from afar (thanks to my two-year experience as the preschool’s Librarian); I have personally met and quizzed some of the best speakers on parenting in the Greater Vancouver area (from my year spent as the Parent Education Chair); I would know how to establish a society or a non-for-profit, and how to write a Constitution for such an organization (No prob! I learned that this year as a Vice-President).
So, if you are thinking about what path you would like to take with your child, take a good look at the Seymour Heights PPP, or any other ppp in your community because you will make the right choice. To quote our fabulous Teacher Patt with the sentence that completely won me over at my first orientation (a Wine and Cheese event in the faraway 2007): “I know this is the right choice for you and your child because YOU will be there.” From that moment on, I knew what path I was going to take – to be there for my children, involved in the classroom and everywhere else. …And I have been, just like all the other parents who have decided to get involved in a ppp.
So what are some of the words of wisdom I have learned at the Seymour Heights PPP:
- The most important thing a child can do and spend time on is – play! (See the article by fabulous Kathy Lynn.)
- You build a stronger attachment with your child by spending more simple moments with your child. (You can find more on Neufeld’s views here.)
- A child learns way more if he initiates the play and you come along for a ride, than if you just stick with your teaching agenda. (I kind of new this before, but StrongStartBC‘s Carol Lundrigan showed us some great examples this year).
- A child is never too young to learn about body science. Saleema Noon totally empowered me to discuss this topic with my children in one of her talks years ago. (You can find more on Saleema Noon here).
- When resolving sibling conflicts, your goal is to give the children the skills so they can learn to do it all on their own. If you give them the tools, they will eventually problem solve by themselves, and will not need you to intervene (and how great is that!). (To learn more about Chasidy Karpiuk, see here).
- When dealing with a persistent child, no matter how hard it could be, just try to see the issue from her perspective. (On this and many other similar topics, see Chris Burt’s website.)
This is only a sneak peek of what you could learn and experience at a parent participation preschool. For more, join us for our monthly parent education talks first Wednesday of every month, and sign up your child for the Three’s or Four’s class in September. It was the best thing I did for my family!
Thank you for sharing with us, Emina!