Last summer when we were trying to decide on the best pre-school option for Gabe, a friend contacted me about joining the Joy School group she was putting together for her son and a few other kids. I had heard about Joy School before through one of my favorite websites (Values Parenting), and I remember a childhood friend raving about how her mom did it when she was little, but I wasn't really sure what it was all about -- or if I'd even have the energy to host and teach some of the units with everything else I had going on in my life!
Lo and behold, it turned out to be a wonderful fit for me and Gabe! The units are based on the book, Teaching Your Children Joy. The whole idea is to give kids a social and emotional head start in life, as opposed to an academic one. I was able to teach the units "The Joy of the Body," "The Joy of Wonder," and "The Joy of Family." Each unit ended with a special gathering or field trip involving us moms.
It was so fun to see the boys feel completely safe being silly, experience the joy in serving others, and discover the possibilities of imagination. All-in-all, I loved how special Gabe felt every time he'd come home from Joy School, and I especially enjoyed overhearing him sing the songs he'd learned!
Earlier this spring when I was encouraging the kids to get ready for Carlie's softball game, I heard a few grumbles...and then Gabe started singing, "I cheer for sister, she cheers for me... Because we are a FAMILY!!" I went into the living room to see Gabe getting his shoes on so he could go and support his sister. It certainly taught him some important life lessons.