Why I Joined Woodinville Family Preschool’s Prenatal-Infant Classby WFP Admin added on 22 August 2019, Comments Off on Why I Joined Woodinville Family Preschool’s Prenatal-Infant Class , posted in Blog
By Gabrielle Mak, WFP Parent of Toddler
“I thought preschool didn’t start until 2 years and older…”
“Woodinville Family Preschool has a prenatal and infant class.”
I was sitting on the living room floor, my fingers pushing on my mommy flab while religiously checking the baby monitor anytime it went dark from inactivity—the postpartum mom hormones were full force. My husband lounged on our couch, his face glowing blue from his laptop as he skimmed through the Woodinville Family Preschool website.
We’d been looking for guidance, advice, and support. Most preschools we’d looked at were unreasonably expensive and the thought of dropping our new baby off in the arms of some stranger made us nervous–WFP appeared to be different. The school embodies “child development”, not “preschool”. Parents are an integral part of the learning process, not just a consumer of a report card. The goal is to learn and grow as a family, not just drop your child off and go.
As a first time mom, and maybe other first-time parents can relate, I was overcome with expectations, fears, and anxiety from the enormous responsibility that now rested on my shoulders. I felt unprepared, tired, emotional, and anxious over everything. Doubts flooded my mind… “When do I start solids?” “Is his screaming at night normal?” “Am I patting him too hard?” “Should I not give him these light up toys?” “What if I drop him?!” “What do I DO with him when he’s awake?” “Is that normal?” “Is THAT normal?!”
What to Expect at Prenatal/Infant Class:
1. Safe Learning Environment for All
My first time at the WFP Prenatal-Infant class, all those anxieties fell away. Susan, our parent educator, was friendly, welcoming, and instilled a sense of calm in the room. She radiated, “it’s going to be O.K.”—in fact, I think she may have said that a few times throughout the year or maybe it was every week to some of us. At the beginning of class, we sang a really cute welcome song followed by more songs with actions and ups and downs for the babies. It was like playing rather than just singing to the little cooing lumps. It became a signal to them that class was starting—my son loved it. After song time we had check-in for the parents and playtime, or social time, for the babies.
2. Parent Sharing
For a woman with my postpartum anxieties, check-in was my favorite part. It was the time where I could sit down, sigh, and share my fears and my frustrations. I felt heard and knew that I wasn’t alone. Everyone in that room, mothers and fathers, understood and gave encouragement. We cheered each other on and that meant so much to me as a new mother for the first 12 months of my son’s life. Those parents and Susan became my sounding board, my confidants, and my support group as I struggled through early motherhood. And their babies became my son’s first playmates. While us parents unloaded, laughed, cried, and learned about child development, the babies cooed, rolled, and eventually crawled and walked together. My son is more social than I believe he would have been had we not joined the infant class.
3. Parent Education Topic
After check-in, came our parent education topic for the week. We discussed a short reading we’d been assigned, shared our thoughts, concerns, or questions and learned more from Susan or a guest speaker (e.g. sleep specialist, pediatric dental hygienist). Teacher Susan was never judgmental. She always gave suggestions, advice, and taught us about child development and parenting but she never made us feel guilty for our choices or decisions as parents. This open environment, where parents could ask questions and make informed decisions on how to apply what we learned to our parenting toolbox, led me to love WFP even more as the year went on.
I have never learned so much about child development! And WFP is affiliated with Shoreline Community College, so you actually earn college credit through taking this class (which is wonderful if you are a teacher trying to keep up certification!).
- Prenatal Nutrition
- How the baby develops in the womb
- Babies’ sleep cycles
- When and how to care for their teeth
- How to handle difficult behaviors
- How to redirect
- How to really observe my child as he plays and then apply those observations
- How to play with a baby who isn’t mobile
- What toys are best for them in their early developing months (I based our holiday and birthday toy shopping lists solely on what toys I saw my son play with in class.)
Here is the complete list of parent education topics.
4. Closing Circle and Clean-Up
When class was over, the music parachute came out to signal good-bye. All the babies seemed to love this part of class. We sang our goodbye song, packed up our things, picked up the play mats, changed diapers, and were on our way. The toys were cleaned after babies had drooled and slobbered all over them. This always made me feel better about my son playing with the toys at class. I knew the school cared about hygiene.
I came to look forward to our class every Thursday afternoon. It was a time to check in with my support group. I knew I would get a chance to ask an Early Childhood professional specific questions that were drilling into my mind instead of Googling something and getting scary answers! It was also the safe space I could put my son down on the play mat and know he was in the best possible environment.
The amount of knowledge I gained from attending WFP Prenatal-Infant class helped me feel confident about my parenting choices. I was informed. I trusted my sources. I didn’t have to worry about whether I was doing the right thing. My son was off to a great start and it was because of WFP Prenatal-Infant class.
WFP is still accepting new families in the Prenatal-Infant class. Register today to guarantee your spot! You can contact our Registrar (scroll down to the Contact Form) to get more information on your next steps.