Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Prexit (the preschool exit)


Tuesday 26 June 2018

We all know the feeling of closing one chapter in life and opening a new one. Some people sail through this transition seamlessly and for others it is an unsettling period. I belong in the latter of the two.  I seek a sense of closure, a moment of reflection and a chance to recap on monumental moments before they slot into a very dusty memory bank.

As my son finishes up his time at preschool I struggle with finding the right words to show my gratitude. So many empowering and generous women impacted on his little life at preschool. It is hugely important to us, as a family, that these women know the impact they have made in our son’s life. On the surface it is apparent that educators guide our children’s learning and nurture all their strengths. However, from a parent’s perspective, an educator's impact ripples so far beyond the surface.

In the professional world we have what is known as an exit interview. But In a child’s world, how do we measure the preschool experience? This concept of exit interviews leads me to think about my son’s imminent departure this week. How, as his parents, do we capture his experience of preschool? If he had an exit interview, let’s call it for names sake, PREXIT (The Preschool Exit) would it go a little something like this:


What have been your highlights here at preschool?

One day I got married in preschool, the next day we made an apple tart to celebrate our anniversary.


What will you miss most?

Celebrating my birthday with my friends. My teachers hug and her funny hair. Muck balls in the garden.


What skills will you take away with you?

I’ve managed the opticians and administered eye tests to various friends in my class.


What will you miss the least?

The clean-up song.

Obviously, as true as the above answers appear, they can never fully capture the magnitude of his experience. So, as a parent I’m here to describe what this impact feels like to us.  Let me start by saying, thank you for so many things that you are completely unaware of. Thank you for giving us the comfort of knowing that when we are not around our son is happy, safe and cared for. Working a full-time job as a parent you have no idea how this comfort makes our day so much easier. My son absolutely adores going to preschool. Knowing he is an environment where is respected and listened to means the world to us. Thank you for playing such a personal role in his first real journey in life. Your impact on his journey has been immense. Never doubt that. You have helped to nurture all his interests and strengths. He is so confident in who he is because of your time and your care.

Do you know that finding those small stories in his school bag made my day? I have kept every single one of them. Each a pebble in his journey. Each one a memory I was not there for; but it felt as if I was. They reaffirmed how strong the bond was that you had all made together. Learning how he managed his own opticians and played out his feelings through play filled my heart more than you could ever imagine. I never knew words on a page could make me beam so much with pride.  Constantly reassuring us that our son is loved and growing in a professional environment.

When my son got new glasses last year this was a huge change for him, and for us. Wearing a patch to preschool initially felt challenging. I worried constantly about how this would affect his confidence, his sense of being and belonging, and how he would manage those feelings of looking different to other children. Surrounded by professional practitioners, he flourished in his uniqueness. Last week I watched him walk into his new school. Awe struck, I followed his lead as he walked straight up to his new teacher. He shook his hand, introduced himself and gushed about all the things he enjoys doing. Through his preschool practitioner’s time and expertise, I can positively say that he now moves forward as an extremely confident and capable young boy.

Thank you for giving him the space to explore who he is. We are forever grateful to you for the wonderful start in life he has been given.

As Maria Aarts so profoundly declares, ‘Thank you for sharing the joy’.



Aisling is a Media and Journalism graduate working in the Training & Practice team at Early Childhood Ireland. A lover of words, she is often found with a curious four-year-old, pocket journal and ink on her hands.

3 comments Comments

3 Responses

  1. Debbie Mullen says:

    oh wow Aisling great read and thank you for sharing the joy

  2. Lilian Joyce says:

    Aisling, what a wonderful tribute to the women in Elliot’s Pre-school. I hope that they “Hup, Hup” these words to sustain them in their work- another of Maria Aarts famous sayings.

  3. Bronagh Mooney says:

    Oh that was a lovely read and wonderful to hear a parents perspective:) best of luck to Elliot as he continues his journey ❤️❤️Valerie

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

EECERA 2016(1) quarantine(2) Whole Group(1) Yoga(1) Inspired Practice Award(6) childcare services(1) SPICE Framework(1) Event Guide(1) Shoes(1) Decision Making(1) Lego(2) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Maths Week(1) democratic citizens(1) Penguins(1) First 5 strategy(1) Settling in(4) Scents(1) scéalta(58) Snack Time(1) MECPI(1) Winter(1) Body Language(1) PIP(1) homeschool(1) racism(1) Norway(2) Shapes(2) Frustrations(1) pablo(1) UD(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) linc(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Nonverbal(1) preschool(4) Stress(2) art of the relationship(1) GoToMeeting app(1) Exclusion(1) Consent(1) Budget 2019(2) children’s learning(1) Children's Book Club(1) awards 2020(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Gardening(1) gender bias(1) under 3's(3) Reopening Childcare(1) refugees(1) Visitors(1) Pedagogy(2) Communicating(1) lockdown(1) role playing(1) HR(1) Decisions(1) Kerry(1) Impact(1) Plastic(1) environments(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Irish guidelines(1) parents(7) Malaguzzi(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Cognitive development(1) Self-Esteem(1) science week(2) keep in touch(1) MA(1) Glitter(2) Children's Voice(1) Care routines(1) Early Years Education(1) Mantra(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) National Awards 2019(1) Universal Design(2) Covid-19 lockdown(1) Arlene Forster(1) Human Resources(1) Party(1) INTO(1) Awards(2) Investment(2) Digital(1) Affordability(1) Vertical grouping(1) worries(1) Leadership(1) blog(56) Self Help Skills(1) presentation skills(1) preschools(1) Fantasy play(1) RIE philosphy(1) planning(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Research Seminar(1) Art(6) Sculptures(1) TRAP(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) grandchild(1) New Appointments(1) Performance Management(1) gender stereotype(1) Effect of Lockdown(1) Trick or treat(1) apps for children(1) Eritrea(1) Care-giving routines(1) Academics(1) eating(1) CIT(1) dining(1) European Project(1) Sessional service(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Self-regulation(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) College(1) annual conference(1) Performing(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) interacting(2) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Celebrations(4) Looking Forward(1) Laughter(1) Regulation 23(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Identity(5) Book Club(2) Online Research Symposium(3) Valerie Gaynor(1) E.coli(1) Positivity(1) Craft(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Easter(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) feisty(1) early years learning(1) RTE Investigates(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Ariana Pucci(1) child-centred approach(1) Exercise(1) Growing up Outdoors(2) UK Government(1) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) Super Shed Stories(2) DES Inspection(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Orla Kenny(1) dublin(2) code of ethics(1) Children's Rights(3) Mayo(1) Maynooth University(2) code of professional responsibility(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Research Conference 2019(1) overhear(1) movement behaviours(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Engineering(3) child safeguarding(1) Wonder(1) Counting(1) natural environment(1) Afghanistan(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) supportive environments(2) play therapy(1) educating(1) Confidence(1) Twitter(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) mental health problems(1) Inspections(1) journey(1) CPD(1) man up(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Favouritism(1) Leprechauns(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Engineers Week(2) Jillian van Turnhout(1) STEM(3) social media policy(1) Policy(2) documentation(4) General Data Protection Regulation(1) COVID(3) Mathematicians(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Reflective Practice(1) Degree(1) early childhood(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) partnership(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Challenges(1) Sweets(1) Wesco(1) early years settings(1) Capable(1) Albert Einstein(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Interests(1) bloom app(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Autism(4) Proceedings Journal(1) Competent(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) World book day(1) Return to Work Training(1) Drawing(2) learning(19) Upcycling(1) development(9) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Photographs(1) UNICEF report(1) Workforce(1) AIM(2) EM Standing(1) outdoor environment(1) Map(1) Covid19 crisis(1) Trade Unions(1) Masterclass(2) Playschool(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Plants(1) Empathy(1) Behaviour(3) Maynooth(1) Inspiring Practice(1) conference(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) Children(8) Traditions(2) COVID-19(18) creche(1) Learning Story(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Learning through Storytelling(2) SAC(1) Scéalta Blog(106) Giraffe(2) Emergent Curriculum(1) Staff Motivation(1) Support(1) women in research(1) Exit interview(1) Wilenski(1) Child mental health(1) learning hub(2) Learning Journal(2) Margy Whalley(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Intention(1) Infection Control(1) Prexit(1) toddlers(3) Traffic Lights(1) Music(3) Small World Play(1) Maria Montessori(1) conversations(1) Book Review(1) Fire Safety(1) early childhood ireland research(1) Large Doll Play(1) Hand Hygiene(2) peer group(1) Professionalisation(5) World Health Organisation(1) Fabric(1) Study Trip(1) experience(1) food(1) routine(2) Early Learning and Care(2) reopening ireland(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Reggio(1) Maths(6) Reading Time(2) Running(1) Pretend Play(1) playleader(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Sustainability(3) community(5) TUSLA(1) Awards 2018(3) Loss(1) Treasure Chest(1) Builders(1) Supernanny(1) Recycle(1) phone apps(1) Community involvement(1) purpose(1) Online(1) Qualifications(1) IGL(1) Bereavement(2) Liz Kerrins(1) Brain(1) Italy(1) Magic(1) Technology(3) science(3) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) primary education(1) june29(1) Educators(2) Blocks(1) dining experiences(1) Anxiety(2) child led(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) School Age Childcare(2) Children and families(2) Names(1) stories(3) collaboration(1) Environment(2) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Workplace well-being(1) Unesco(1) Mealtimes(1) research(8) Childhood(2) ECEC(4) Celebrate(1) Mixed age groups(3) annual awards(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) ECEC Setting(2) UK(1) Mud kitchens(1) Employee(1) Graduate(1) outdoor space(3) Leargas(1) Training(3) Kids Own(1) Biting(1) UN(1) behavioural science(1) Europe(1) Cork(1) responsive relationships(1) reading(6) Social Skills(1) Ceremony(1) Awards 2019(1) staying connected(1) Sport(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Painting(1) social media(2) Thank you(1) Early Years(1) outdoor play(7) United Nations(1) Budget 2020(1) Seanchaí(1) play stories(2) The Jelly King(1) youdoodle(1) Primary School(3) transitions(10) Role play(1) Laugh(1) Creativity(7) relationships(18) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) coronavirus(1) Magda Gerber(1) Anthony Semann(1) Diversity(1) developing motor skills(1) San Miniato(4) Educator of the Year Award(3) Croatia(1) STEAM(1) International Narratives(1) upskilling(1) Patterns(1) Treasure(1) Women(1) curriculum(7) Grief(1) Document Learning(1) early childhood educator(2) Appreciation(1) Arts(1) Children's Research Network(2) Well-Being(10) Maternity Leave(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) value(1) Confident(1) Budget 2018(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(2) Kindness Challenge(1) Wrapping paper(1) preschool settings(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Interactions(3) play pod(1) Story(2) Touch(1) Funding(1) worldbookday(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Montessori(3) child-centric(1) Adoption(1) Quality(4) Mark Twain(1) Storytelling(8) Titles(1) Rich Documentation(1) ICBN(1) University(1) Design(1) ears(1) Motor neuron disease(1) family time(1) Sleep(1) Santa(2) Thanks(1) AsIAm(2) Love(3) scientific and artistic processes(1) Snakes(1) Childcare(3) Buddies(1) Iraq(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Magnavacchi(1) Covid pandemic(3) Sustainable(1) Síolta QAP(1) Interaction(1) quarantine kids(1) Exploring(1) democracy(1) Routines(2) Meet the Members(1) Building Resilience(1) mushrooms(1) Playdough(1) play pods(2) Participation(2) Rituals(1) Kindness(1) Inspirational(2) Pen green(1) Academic Skills(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Home Corner(1) risky play(2) Sociodramatic play(1) National Holiday(1) UNCRC(2) Halloween(2) play(37) Light table(1) story time(2) Child Care(1) Graduation(1) ECIAwards20(1) Digital Devices(1) Exploratory Play(1) Potential(1) Weather(1) early year’s classrooms(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Trade union(1) memories(1) Identity and Belonging(4) structure(1) Window(1) Return to Work(1) ERASMUS+(3) Learning Stories(9) early years research(3) Socioemotional development(1) Pobal(1) Family(1) Change(1) emotional environment(2) Irish(1) First 5(1) Independence(1) QRF(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Games(2) social science(1) Snacks(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) dogs(1) Xbox(1) healthy eating policies(1) Buddy Bench(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Little Buddies(1) Jenga(1) National Awards 2018(2) show and tell(1) built environments(1) animals(2) Belonging(3) Early Years Educators(3) keezy(1) Valentine's Day(3) imotion(1) Inclusion(3) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Maths Week Ireland(1) education system(1) listen(1) Mental Health(4) early life(1) EECERA(1) Elders(1) Certificate(1) education(2) Workplace Relations(3) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Aistear(132) Meal time(1) partnership with families(1) risk assessment(1) Health(2) Recycling(2) Covid response(2) CCTV(1) learning bias(1) an post(1) Advocacy(1) National Annual Awards 2020(1) pets(1) reopening(1) Wendy Lee(4) Learning journals(1) Looking Back(1) Spiders(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Mindfulness(3) Communications(1) communication(4) Culture(2) Thinking(1) inspiring interactions(1) Equality(1) Early Childhood Education(1) life long learning(1) Dance(1) Inter-generational learning(2) bonds(1) ECCE(7) Annual Conference 2019(1) timekeeping skills(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Vietnam(1) Nordic model(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) emotional well-being(1) Awards Night(1) NAEYC(1) Early Childhood Ireland(10) Queues(1) Line-ups(1) baby room(1) Seas Suas(1) Trigonometry(1) Our Little Seed(1) outdoors(4) Family wall(1) Sequins(1) Pre-School Services(1) Oireachtas(1) research submissions(1) Obesity(1) trust(4) Through the looking glass(1) Summer(2) Relaxation(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) babies(7) COVID-19 crisis(1) aistear blog(3) Time(1) Smiles(1) risk(2) GDPR(1) Síolta(139) Fee Play(1) TOY Programme(1) Visual Impairment(1) Engagement(1) educarer(1) curiosity(3) multi-generational community(1) emotions(2) Mount Everest(1) listening(1) maternity health(1) meals(3) Feeding(1) Gratitude(1) Skillnet(1) respect(5) National Pyjama Day(1) children development(1) ReCreate(2) iOS(1) Japan(1) Horizon 2020(1) Youtube Series(1) learners(1) Kilkenny(1) continual professional development(1) Siolta blog(8) Nuturing interactions(1) Creative(1) Teamwork(1) Time Out(1) guardian(1) ELC(1) Breathing(2) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Loving Relationships(2) Mo Scéal(1) Infectious diseases(1) Syria(1) Facebook(1) Death(2) Tuscan Approach(2) Iceland(2) Nutrition(1) Imagination(3) Administrative Burden(1) Reggio Emilia(2) Learning Stories Award(3) Limerick(1) NCCA(4) christmas(9) Your place(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) books(5) friendships(1) Arithmetic(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) DCYA(6) Flowers(1) Opportunities(1) budget(1) Inter-generational(2) online training(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine