Sunday, October 13, 2013

Preschool Memories

"Hi Jen, how are you?" she said as she approached me in the produce aisle at Wegmans.  I was confused and my head couldn't place the face...but my heart instantly did, it was Susan Bachus, my daughters' preschool teacher.  I wondered what she was doing out of the preschool, doesn't she live there?

Here in the heart of our tiny village is a warm and cozy place, Lawrenceville Presbyterian Preschool.  It is unplugged, very simple, and surrounded by a community of parents, volunteers, alumni, and church members who consider it sacred ground.  Whenever I am in the building I sneak downstairs, breathe in the air, look around and remember how much I cherished the years when my daughters attended.  Not only was it an exceptional educational experience for my girls, but the teachers put such time and care into their emotional development my kids walked out as stronger little people caring for the world.

While preschool is all about the children, I also greatly benefited from my days as a helping mom.  This preschool is a cooperative which means that parents pitch in and help out.   Now, I understand many of you out there think that preschool should be a time and place where children go out on their own.  And I respect that opinion.  However, and I know this may sound crazy, I actually enjoyed giving up a morning of freedom every now and again to help out in the classroom.  When it was my turn, my kids held my hand and paraded me around like we were rockstars.  We played dress up and cooked in the pretend kitchen.  We brought in our famous homemade monkey bread for snack time. It was an opportunity to peak inside of their world and show them how much I valued their education.  Since I am no longer allowed on the field trips (or really anywhere near them unless my credit card is involved) I am so glad I took the time when they were younger.

Susan Bachus, the head teacher of the 3's class made me a better parent.  Susan taught me the value of how big the world seems to very little people and to really reach a child you need to get down on their level.  Her gentle ways, creative ideas, and care for the whole child helped shaped the way I have acted as my own children have grown.  She was an excellent model of calm.  I now have three teenage daughters and often think I could use doses of Susan's calm.

Still rooted in the strong foundation of Susan Bachus, the preschool board just took the opportunity to hire a new powerhouse director in Alison Young.  Years ago Alison crossed my path and carried with her an stellar reputation as an early education educator.  With extensive experience in schools both abroad and here in the United States she brings with her wisdom and knowledge that will add so much value to our school. She is kind hearted, caring, and a perfect addition to the staff.

For those of you know me well you know I am just a wee bit crazy about those I allow in the lives of my children.  Standards are high, just a tad.  As my children grow older I am clinging to memories of their earlier years spent in a place so special I consider sending them there to be one of the best parenting decisions I ever made.

If you are looking for a preschool, I highly recommend checking out  Lawrenceville Presbyterian Preschool. Go in and look around.  Sit in the tiny chairs, listen to the gentle voice of Susan Bachus and imagine your child in her loving care for a few hours each day.  And when you have to give up some free time for your helping parent day, cherish every single moment and create the very special memories that will last a lifetime.  


  1. This is lovely, Jen. Where/when did we cross paths??

    1. Alison - my oldest daughter attended the Princeton YWCA nursery school. I vaguely remember you - did you teach? Did Patty Preston introduce us at some point? I was thrilled when I realized you were the new director. I'll have to stop in and say hi - I love that place!!!

  2. Thanks for your wisdom and your insight, Jen! As you know, I'm somewhat biased - but I think you really do summarize so articulately what the preschool's about. It gives parents some freedom, but it also enables parents to be a community together, sharing the joys and challenges of parenting.

    So - thanks you again for your articulate reflections!