Just like a hostess planning for the social event of the season, preparations for the new school year are well underway at the preschool. Shiny waxed floors, new sand for the sand box, squeaky clean baby dolls and fresh squishy play dough are just a few of the many details designed to send this message to the children and their families: we care about you!

We are happy that you are here!

When the preschoolers walk up the steps and through the gates in September, we want their first impression to be one that makes them hurry on in and think, “Wow! This place looks like fun!” We want them to feel welcome and eager to get busy playing.

With each carefully planned center and prop; be it art, sensory, dramatic play, manipulative toys or reading corner, we set the stage to invite play and promote the essential learning that takes place when young children are “just playing”.

Along with the customary preparations like cleaning and maintenance, we ask ourselves, what can we do to make this year a great one? What did we do last year that the children really loved? Are there new trends in education that we can incorporate in our program? We browse through current educator magazines and books looking for inspiration and insight.

While it is essential that teachers ask these important questions when planning curriculum, so that they grow as professionals and keep their classroom fresh and interesting, there are a few things in early childhood education that remain constant and provide the foundation for young learners.… children like to dig in the sand, mix paint at the easel, play house, ride bikes and feel loved and important… sand, paint, dolls, bikes and loving attention, these are the preschool building blocks.

No matter how many times I have, “thrown this new school year party”, I still get butterflies, I still make long checklists of chores and I fret whether everything will go off as desired. But year after year, when those children walk through those gates, I am still happy that they are here and my guess is, the children are happy to be here too.

Happy September and here’s to a great new school year!