You know the feeling. It’s the one you get when you’re standing in the middle of a loud space with people hurriedly passing you by on both the left and the right. Obviously, they know where they are going, and just as obviously you don’t. Then you spy it—that beacon of assistance that stands strategically placed for all to see. It’s the directory. And as you make you way toward it, you start scanning for the star! And when you find it, relief washes over you, and you read those three little words beside it: You are here.

Whether you are at the airport, outlet mall, or an amusement park, it is difficult to relax and enjoy your visit until you have a sense of where you are. There is something very reassuring about knowing that, amid all the possibilities of places to go and turns to make, you know where you are starting. You are here. The star marks the spot. It boosts your confidence as you make the decision of where to go next.

That is just what you are in the life of preschoolers in their classroom each weekend. You are the star that marks where they are. With you, they have a sense of belonging and security.

Preschoolers who are transitioning to a new age group or environment have yet to find that ease of navigating this new space. Others who have been in the room move about easily. They know where to find the toys. They know where the books are. They know which container has the crayons. But your newer ones can still be a bit hesitant to jump right in.

Preschoolers need to feel safe. And having you there each week makes your classroom a safe zone for them. They feel comfortable and can engage with the activities offered with more ease. They can play and have fun. And since play is a preschooler’s work, a day of play is a successful one.

Because you are there and they feel safe, they can learn. Their minds are not distracted by worry of what is going to happen, or who are these people, or whether or not they’ll be taken care of. They see you. They know you. They relax. They can focus on the activities provided and learn the lesson of the day.

So the next time you are waiting for your little ones to arrive in your room, watch their eyes as they come in the door.  They will scan the room, see you, and smile. That’s the sign. You’re their STAR! Shine on!

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