As unfathomable as it is to Mrs. LIAYF and I, seeing how we are fairly certain it was just a few weeks ago we first brought Lukas home from the hospital, we had our very first parent teacher conference with his primary teacher today.
Yes, they have those in pre-school these days. We were shocked too.
Teacher Kate, whom Lukas adores and who will be pretty hard to top as the finest non-parent caregiver that our son will ever have, sat Mrs. LIAYF and I down this afternoon at a tucked away table, in a corner of the quiet restaurant a few blocks away from his pre-school. She then carefully laid out an evaluation sheet in front of each of us. The form consisted of nearly 50 points of observation. This was obviously one of the benefits of the lofty tuition charges we pay laid out before us in a tangible form.
We then proceeded to have a thoughtful discussion with her about each of those points. But although it was a terrific exercise for us, we didn't learn too many things that we didn't already know about our little guy. Right now he's not so much into art or music, or rowdy play. Rather he tends toward highly imaginative play and building interesting and unusual things with a variety of different materials. He is also well liked and makes friends rather easily, while never excluding anyone from his games.
Then, to that last point Teacher Kate said something that truly stunned me. She told Mrs. LIAYF and I that Lukas was "off the charts when it came to caring for his friends." In fact, she said that he was "The most empathetic child in her any of her groups" followed up resolutely with the word "Ever!"
I wondered if I had heard that correctly. But yes, that is definitely what she said.
Wow! This is the lead teacher of a large preschool program (there are 32 kids in his class this year) who has more than 15 years of experience with kids. That was amazing.
She then went on to tell us how Lukas was always the first one to make other kids feel better when they were sad or hurt, and how he is always extremely generous with his toys. Those facts didn't stun or surprise us however. We see those traits shine in our son on a daily basis. If we give him treats or stickers, he is always immediately looking for someone to share them with. It makes him happy to give things away. And he always offers these items up with a smile on his face.
In fact, we went to a restaurant this afternoon and sat next to three on duty police officers. When one gave him a sticker, he responded in kind by digging through his change wallet and offering each them a shiny penny to keep. Seattle's finest really seemed to enjoy that exchange.
These are traits we, as parents, have stressed to our son from very early on and ones we believe will serve him well as he grows older. But we've merely made suggestions to him. He's the one who has developed them as a part of his personality. And of that we can be proud.
So, with our first parent teacher conference successfully under our belts, his mother and I drove over to his preschool to pick up our wonderful son. And, as we arrived we peeked over the fence into the play yard to observe.
He was sharing a box with one of his friends.