This morning saw a dawning realisation that Tilly and I are nearing the end of an era. The days of playgroups are waning with pre-school looming large. Where did the time go?
It’s exactly a year since we started the routine of daily playgroups and toddler activities, way back when Tilly wasn’t even quite walking. It was a brand new experience for both of us and one which took a while to get used to (read my guide to playgroups for an insight into this once strange world). Since then Tilly has advanced massively into a confident, frequently singing and sometimes dancing toddler.
The start of the new term at playgroups really made it dawn on me though that Tilly is nearing the end of this stage of her development. Most of her friends have now moved on to pre-school as although many are not yet three, parents have taken the opportunity of the new academic year to advance their child and free up some time of their own to boot.
As the doors opened at playgroup today I was acutely aware how Tilly had shifted up the ranks of children to become one of the senior toddlers, a prefect if you will. Although somewhat dinky for her age, massed ranks of newly arrived walking babies made her look positively grown up in comparison.
Today was also the first time I felt that perhaps Tilly is starting to outgrow playgroup. She’s quite advanced with her use of language and I couldn’t but help feel that the same old toys, while distracting, weren’t necessarily offering the sort of challenge that she perhaps now needs.
This said, I’m in no rush for her to swap play for structured learning as there are years for all of that. Tilly still has plenty to learn when it comes to drawing, painting, and sticking, while having smaller companions around helps to reinforce the need to be considerate and share.
So while we’ll not be ditching playgroup just yet it has got me thinking all the more about reassessing the activities I organise for her. There’s certainly a point where you begin to feel they’ve done and got the best out of an activity and its time to move on to something different. There’s safety is sticking with the familiar but with such a range of activities out there, I’d like to keep exploring new options for Tilly in the hope that she discovers some that really engage her or find a natural talent.
After all, pre-school will be with us next year and then, like it or not, half of the week will be taken up with all that holds on the road towards full-time education. Of course there’s time for extra-curricular activities when they are at school but recognising that this unlimited time together we currently enjoy is a finite resource makes me want to make the very most of it.
What clubs, classes and activities have you found popular for your nearly 3-year old? Did you sign your child up for pre-school ahead of them getting their free hours? Please share your views and experiences in comments.
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