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:

Study Trip(1) education(2) Leadership(1) Mindfulness(2) overhear(1) Awards 2019(1) UD(1) Childcare(2) NCCA(3) Gratitude(1) Mixed age groups(2) Learning Stories Award(3) Communications(1) Biting(1) Penguins(1) NAEYC(1) Giraffe(2) Trade Unions(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Weather(1) Book Club(2) dining experiences(1) Snacks(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Empathy(1) science week(2) Home Corner(1) Decisions(1) transitions(10) Child mental health(1) Sequins(1) Learning Stories(9) Creativity(4) Arlene Forster(1) Facebook(1) Masterclass(2) planning(1) Mayo(1) Self-regulation(1) Games(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Children(1) Autism(3) Workforce(1) Educators(1) trust(3) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Valentine's Day(3) maternity health(1) Potential(1) Decision Making(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Settling in(4) EECERA 2016(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Appreciation(1) Prexit(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Interactions(2) Grief(1) RIE philosphy(1) emotions(2) Engineering(2) Event Guide(1) Celebrate(1) Traditions(2) animals(2) Investment(2) Playdough(1) Early Learning and Care(1) grandchild(1) GDPR(1) Meal time(1) outdoor play(6) St. Patrick's Day(1) Horizon 2020(1) risk assessment(1) Rituals(1) Maria Montessori(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) Music(3) Running(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) New Appointments(1) early childhood educator(1) First 5 strategy(1) ERASMUS+(3) Participation(2) Love(2) Margy Whalley(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) reading(5) educarer(1) development(8) UNCRC(1) role playing(1) Flowers(1) Family(1) Santa(2) Positivity(1) Magda Gerber(1) Technology(2) Reggio(1) Brain(1) Exercise(1) Magnavacchi(1) Workplace well-being(1) Challenges(1) Spiders(1) Inspections(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Advocacy(1) Supernanny(1) AsIAm(1) Seas Suas(1) Time(1) Arithmetic(1) STEM(2) risk(2) Building Resilience(1) Favouritism(1) DES Inspection(1) Wesco(1) Party(1) Book Review(1) documentation(3) Well-Being(9) Glitter(2) risky play(2) Graduate(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Buddies(1) listen(1) Independence(1) Little Buddies(1) Eritrea(1) Children's Voice(1) play stories(1) Leargas(1) Names(1) Buddy Bench(1) Self Help Skills(1) San Minia(1) Snakes(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Mark Twain(1) Yoga(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Anxiety(2) communication(4) CCTV(1) Frustrations(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Síolta(105) Socioemotional development(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) School Age Childcare(1) Builders(1) under 3's(3) respect(5) Titles(1) Elders(1) Engineers Week(2) Adoption(1) dogs(1) story time(1) memories(1) Mount Everest(1) Upcycling(1) Kerry(1) MA(1) PIP(1) Magic(1) Meet the Members(1) Map(1) Leaders in Practice(1) experience(1) Role play(1) Line-ups(1) Easter(1) Trade union(1) Funding(1) Thanks(1) Sport(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Exploring(1) Teamwork(1) Awards 2018(3) Interests(1) Mealtimes(1) Routines(1) Early Years(1) Affordability(1) relationships(17) Competent(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Snack Time(1) Blocks(1) Hand Hygiene(1) Through the looking glass(1) Mo Scéal(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Budget 2019(2) baby room(1) supportive environments(2) journey(1) Sleep(1) Irish(1) Belonging(3) Communicating(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Self-Esteem(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) ears(1) stories(2) Celebrations(4) linc(1) Learning Story(1) Professionalisation(4) Identity and Belonging(4) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Inspirational(2) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) EM Standing(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Treasure(1) pets(1) Research Seminar(1) preschool(2) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Rich Documentation(1) Syria(1) Administrative Burden(1) Mathematicians(1) Halloween(2) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Laughter(1) HR(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Budget 2020(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Obesity(1) Arts(1) Cognitive development(1) Loss(1) Whole Group(1) Workplace Relations(3) University(1) Inclusion(3) Change(1) Learning Story Awards(1) Shoes(1) Treasure Chest(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) science(3) Sustainable(1) educating(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) friendships(1) Leprechauns(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Death(2) Visual Impairment(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Limerick(1) Winter(1) Care routines(1) worries(1) Fee Play(1) Infection Control(1) Craft(1) social media(1) Consent(1) Care-giving routines(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Body Language(1) Vietnam(1) Cork(1) Training(2) eating(1) Nonverbal(1) Identity(5) child-centred approach(1) Qualifications(1) Learning journals(1) Shapes(1) Summer(1) toddlers(3) Orla Kenny(1) Interaction(1) Impact(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Albert Einstein(1) ECCE(6) Ceremony(1) outdoors(3) DCYA(4) CIT(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) learning(18) Pen green(1) Human Resources(1) Degree(1) Norway(2) conversations(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Iceland(1) Playschool(1) Afghanistan(1) Confident(1) Vertical grouping(1) bonds(1) Behaviour(3) environments(1) Touch(1) Nutrition(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) emotional environment(1) Learning Journal(1) Aistear(110) Art(6) Síolta QAP(1) Window(1) TRAP(1) food(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) life long learning(1) blog(28) Recycle(1) Painting(1) Patterns(1) Reggio Emilia(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Academics(1) Performing(1) Gardening(1) Family wall(1) National Awards 2018(2) Engagement(1) Mental Health(3) Wendy Lee(3) Employee(1) Support(1) Confidence(1) Montessori(3) Budget 2018(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Fantasy play(1) Trigonometry(1) United Nations(1) Lego(2) dublin(2) UN(1) play(32) MECPI(1) Primary School(2) Certificate(1) Reflective Practice(1) Graduation(1) refugees(1) outdoor space(3) Smiles(1) Online(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Twitter(1) Thank you(1) Childhood(1) Inter-generational(2) Christmas Creativity(2) Wrapping paper(1) Traffic Lights(1) Sculptures(1) First 5(1) Community involvement(1) Italy(1) Maths(4) Design(1) Storytelling(3) Research Conference 2019(1) Maths Week(1) Japan(1) Imagination(3) Thinking(1) babies(7) community(5) Children's Rights(3) Breathing(2) Photographs(1) Universal Design(2) Pobal(1) Infectious diseases(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) books(4) Early Years Educators(2) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Staff Motivation(1) Scents(1) Plastic(1) Drawing(2) scéalta(29) ReCreate(2) Scéalta Book Review(1) Capable(1) Policy(2) research(6) Sweets(1) meals(3) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Liz Kerrins(1) value(1) National Awards 2019(1) Wilenski(1) purpose(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) ICBN(1) Relaxation(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) The Jelly King(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) interacting(2) Exclusion(1) Sustainability(3) Oireachtas(1) Children and families(1) collaboration(1) Siolta blog(2) Xbox(1) European Project(1) Diversity(1) Maynooth(1) Creative(1) Mud kitchens(1) Kilkenny(1) listening(1) Exit interview(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Culture(2) Iraq(1) routine(2) Ariana Pucci(1) E.coli(1) budget(1) Academic Skills(1) SPICE Framework(1) Light table(1) Fabric(1) San Miniato(4) mushrooms(1) curriculum(5) Bereavement(2) TOY Programme(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Malaguzzi(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) RTE Investigates(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Mantra(1) Social Skills(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Dance(1) early years research(1) Maynooth University(1) Sociodramatic play(1) College(1) Scéalta Blog(90) Intention(1) parents(5) Recycling(2) Stress(2) Engineering Ireland(1) Performance Management(1) Awards(2) Trick or treat(1) AIM(2) Kids Own(1) ECEC(1) CPD(1) feisty(1) Story(1) Queues(1) Plants(1) Environment(2) Jenga(1) INTO(1) Our Little Seed(1) christmas(8) Department of Education and Skills(1) Quality(4) IGL(1) Laugh(1) dining(1) Wonder(1) Visitors(1) Children's Research Network(1) National Holiday(1) Health(2) Time Out(1) Maternity Leave(1) curiosity(3) Feeding(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine