Of all the people in a 4-year-old's life, one of the most important (outside of Mom, Dad, sibs, grands and the cousins) is their preschool teacher. With that in mind, many parents choose to remember these educators with a little treat at the holidays. But have you ever wondered what preschool teachers consider the best gifts they ever received? The answers may surprise you.
Why give a teacher gift at all? It's simply a symbol of appreciation for the hard work that goes into the job. In the case of preschool teachers, the challenges include helping students socialize with each other and follow unfamiliar class rules. Then there are the little daily dramas: fights over toys, spells of homesickness, and soiled pants (because accidents do happen). But preschool teachers also have the privilege of exposing children to everyday wonders: the change in seasons, sensory explorations, observing caterpillars becoming butterflies, and that wonderful "aha!" moment of realizing that the ABCs unlock all the stories in the world. By the time the school year is over, those shy little ones have become self-confident, independent children ready for kindergarten and beyond.
In my own experience on the job, I've been given many wonderful holiday gifts from my students' parents (and if you're one of them, I thank you again). I and other teachers I've spoken to agree that it's definitely the thought that counts, and that even a heartfelt message in a card can mean more than all the coffee mugs in the world. But as far as tangible gifts go, these are just a few examples of the holiday remembrances that stand out, according to real teachers. Some are unexpected, some humorous, and some will leave you misty-eyed.