My son started preschool this year.
The night before his first day, I cried.
I stayed awake until after midnight, labelling his clothes and preparing his lunch box and – for reasons I still don’t entirely understand, ironing his jean shorts.
I dropped him off in the morning, leaving him in the care of four adults who were essentially strangers to me, and I crossed my fingers and toes that these people would support, nurture and guide him through this enormous transition.
… but if I’m honest, I didn’t really think they would.
Emotional struggles with perfectly imperfect mums… we get it.
I didn’t think they’d have the time, interest or energy to offer him much more than the most basic level of attention.
I was terrified that I had left him to fend for himself, abandoned him to a wild world of children who did not have the skills or impulse control to handle the social environment in which they had been placed; wildly outnumbering a handful of Educators who were too overworked, underpaid and exhausted to care.
I did not imagine there would be the caring, guiding adult presence he was used to, and I spent that first day, sitting alone at home, sobbing hysterically and wondering what I had done.
When I sprinted through the gates to pick him up that afternoon, he greeted me with an enormous smile on his face.
He’d had a great day.
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And the next morning when we returned, he ran straight into the arms of one of his Educators and snuggled into her lap.
He had not been abandoned.
He was being nurtured, he was being supported, by people who were invested in his wellbeing and his development.
I had no idea.
I had not realised anything at all about the level of skill these Educators possessed, of just how much specialised knowledge they had.
I had not known of the passion, the commitment, the dedication; the desire to strive above and beyond and the lengths his teachers would go to in their efforts to achieve individualised, holistic care for the young people they work with.