My first memories of attending preschool are disjointed, as should be expected. I believe, based on the houses in which we lived at the time, that my preschool memories are mainly from when I was 3 through 5 years old.
Before I attended preschool, I would go to daycare periodically. My mom didn’t work, but I’ve heard from many different people that I was a very challenging child and my guess is that my mom needed some breaks. I don’t have many strong memories of daycare other than being very upset when they put me in with the bigger kids one day. Not only was it the wrong room, but they turned on something I wasn’t allowed to watch instead of my beloved and expected Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
I told the teachers that I was in the wrong room and that I needed to be in the other room so I could watch Mister Rogers, but they didn’t move me. That’s where the memory ends.
I also remember never being able to rest properly on the nap mats and getting in trouble for moving around, having my eyes open, and making sounds during nap time. I never understood how the other children were able to lie quietly for so long. My body didn’t work that way.
Once I actually began attending official preschool classes, I had been reading independently for about two years. I remember being the only child in my class who could read the words in the many lovely books they had.
I had a little toy computer at home that taught me the spelling for lollipop when I was 3 or 4 years old, after which my parents introduced me to the L-O-L-L-I-P-O-P song. So, for a while I would walk around the preschool room singing “L-O-double L-I P-O-P spells lollipop” to myself over and over again. I never bothered learning many of the other lyrics.
We did a lot of crafts in preschool and this was before I got the idea in my head that I was terrible at creating visual art so I quite enjoyed the crafts. I remember frequently asking the teacher questions that she couldn’t answer, but I don’t remember what most of those questions actually were.
I remember loving the rice bin. I could’ve stood and run my hands through the uncooked rice all day if the teacher had let me. I loved everything about it: the way it felt, the way it sounded as it was poured out, and the way it smelled. I didn’t particularly like the tactile sensation afterwards when my hands were covered in rice powder so I always had to immediately wash my hands afterwards, but it was a small price to pay for the otherwise entirely delightful sensory experience.
I do not really have any memories of playing with the other children at either daycare or preschool. I remember taking turns with the other children on slides and things at daycare and being upset when other children were using the rice bin at preschool.
I remember being told a “code word” on some days so that my parents’ friends could pick me up from preschool and I’d know that they were safe to go home with. Once I got the hang of the code word procedure I also wanted my parents to tell it to me before I would go with them.
Sometimes there would be other classes in the same building as the preschool class. I vividly remember attending a little ballet workshop one time. It was confusing to me though, because the instructor informed me that she would need to teach me how to walk properly. I already knew how to walk properly, thank you very much, so I promptly dismissed everything else she said after that.
Eventually, when I was 5 years old, I graduated from preschool with a big graduation event. I remember always having a sippy cup in my mouth at home and licking my lips to the point of extreme chapped-ness when I wasn’t at home. My parents would frequently fuss at me about both behaviors.
Before the graduation event, my parents talked to me sternly about not licking my lips constantly because they would be video-recording the ceremony.
That’s a video I should try and find one of these days.