As I unwrapped the perfectly toddler-crafted Mother's Day gifts a few weeks ago, I was struck by the reality that the school year is almost over and the undeniable difference in Big A's self portrait drawing. While I have observed growth in a number of areas over the past few months, it was somehow surprising to me just how many features were now properly included in this particular drawing. Knowing that this is a sign of Big A's cognitive development I couldn't have been prouder, but it also reminded me of just how much there is to celebrate as the school year comes to a close.
While every age has its milestones worthy of recognition, there is something about the aggressive pace of learning in preschool that is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. In one year a child may become more gregarious, finding a sense of identity in group play, and making decisions based on interest. Language continues to expand and stories become more elaborate. Independence is budding throughout every aspect of a child's being at this point and can even bring out less than desirable behaviors as part of the growing pains in this stage. As I take a step back to celebrate the school year, I am reminded of what makes the toddler/preschool years so adventurous.
Social Development - As Big A has started making decisions based on his interest he is relying less on me for play choices and he is developing stronger opinions (e.g. what he would like to eat at mealtime). He has a sincere interest in being a "big person" and feels a sense of accomplishment when helping in various situations (e.g. setting the table, getting snack out of the pantry, etc.).
Cognitive Development - Play and exploration remains at the center of our learning universe. Music has always been a big part of learning and exploration; although, recently Big A has started creating his own songs using familiar tunes (a game we have played since he was born). More and more often he is mimicking the adults around him and making simple inferences based on what he observes in his environment.
Language Development - Earlier in the school year I received simple one word answers when asking about what happened at school; however, as the year comes to a close our rides home are full of stories and narrative about the day. Frequently, Big A will insert "adult" words that he has heard, yet he still lacks the full understanding of the meaning. In these moments I am reminded of just how much he aspires to be like a grown up.
Physical Development - While some of Big A's movement at this point is still a bit awkward, our dance parties have become more elaborate as he explores and, in some cases, masters jumping, hopping, and skipping. His time on the playground is more physical and involves more risk-taking. His fine-motor skills have really taken off as he enjoys cutting activities and "writing" his name whenever given the chance.
As I step back and think about the young toddler I sent to preschool in the fall I yearn to savor the time passing so quickly. One way we celebrate the accomplishments in our house is to make a point of writing down some of the boys favorite games and interests along with their age and the date (this can even be kept in a journal). A simple, yet fun way to document the end of the school year is to write down some of these traits on a dry erase board and photograph your toddler/preschooler holding the sign (with the date included on the bottom).
Take the time to find your own way to relish in the accomplishments and signs of growth, for these children are growing up (faster than we know it) right before our eyes!
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families as an educational consultant and parenting coach.
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Based on a work at http://www.strongtots.com