“If you are a dreamer come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic-bean-buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
“Invitation” by Shel Silverstein
The classrooms are filled with the crinkling sounds of crumpled butcher paper. Flashes of sunlight bounce off of staplers wildly fixing schedules, name tags, and “welcome” signs to the walls. The smell of crayons and freshly sharpened pencils fills the rooms. The teachers are ready for a new school year.
New outfits, carefully selected, are laid out at the foot of the bed. Family photos are stashed in backpacks. Morning alarms are re-set, a stern reminder that the lazy days of summer are over. The parents are ready for a new school year.
Children play in the yard, running and laughing until they are called inside for dinner. Bath, books, and bed time follow, maybe slightly earlier than usual. They fall asleep ready (or not) for the first day of school.
Adults and children alike bring many expectations to the beginning of a new school year. We may be aware of some, but many remain unspoken. There are questions, fears, or things we’re looking forward to. In that moment when we walk through the classroom door, we bring all of it with us. And in the preschool classroom, all of it is welcome.
Our teachers are ready to meet whatever feelings and personalities arrive at the doorstep at the start of the school year. While our classrooms and teachers welcome students, we also remember that the reverse invitation is offered. Our students also welcome us into their lives. They let us know about their families and friends, about their summer travels, and their favorite foods. They show us their favorite toys, talk about special books, and draw pictures depicting their inner worlds. There is something very magical about the start of each school year, as a special bond develops between teachers and students as these first few weeks unfold.