Sending your little one to pre-school. What you can do.
Every little one is a star and we all want our little stars to shine bright. It is the time of year when we send out our stars to gather some sparkle into the real world via a pre-school. A good preschool helps make the later journey easier. What can you do as a parent to help. Falak, who started a school after she discovered her calling to nurture little stars, shares some tips here.
Anxiety, fear, excitement, apprehensions, and there are so many more feelings a child and their parent/s go through when they start a new school. Calming down an anxious 2-year-old who has entered an unfamiliar environment, is not an easy job. The more you push them, the more they will resist.
The word ‘Ayelet’ is a Hebrew word, which means ‘Brightest Morning Star’; it defines our goal to create a bright, rich, stimulating school environment for children, which will stay with them for life.
I have just started a Montessori House of Children in Bangalore, and I’m looking forward to welcoming these unsure little ones in our environment. I have faced a lot of cries, whining, shouting, resistance, etc. as an educator for more than 8 years now, I always tell parents, leave them and go, they will be fine.
And 75% of the time, the child does calm down when parents have gone. There are those crucial 25% children who need weeks and even months to settle down completely.
There are a lot of things that parents can do, and make this transition a little less stressful. First few days are always a little difficult, and separation anxiety is common for the child and parent alike. Here are a few things that work:
Before the school starts:
- Speak to the child positively about starting school, books help, immensely.
- You might be anxious, but don’t let the child know you’re nervous. For your child to be positive, you need to help her/him.
- Become familiar with the new school. At Ayelet Montessori, we do plan to have an important familiarization hour, where a new child, before they officially start the school, come in a prepared environment for 45 minutes to an hour. This is scheduled at a time when other children aren’t in the school. The parents accompany the child, but just as silent spectators. If your preschool offers something on these lines, make sure, you don’t miss this.
- If you have chosen a Montessori school, ensure you allow the child to be independent at home as well, for as far as possible.
- Try to limit screen time, as a lot of screen time makes the attention span of the child limited. He/she will take longer to adjust to school, especially most Montessori schools, where they aren’t allowed any screen time.
Cheerful Goodbyes: Sounds easy, right? Well, the reality is a little different. When you reach those school gates, you will know what I’m talking about. It is best that someone, the child is less attached to, drops the child off at the gate. Most schools allow a parent in to sit for a day or two with the child, but, believe me, that’s more for the parent, than for the child to get comfortable.
When you drop him/her off, go down to the child’s level, say, “Goodbye, have fun! I will see you soon.” Get up with a quick hug or kiss. Leave… even if the child resists. Most 2-year-olds stop crying in a little while.
Schedule: Young children love routines, make sure, they get a good night sleep and wake up at least an hour before they leave for school. Consistency makes goodbyes easier, if they are used to seeing only one parent in the morning, try to keep it like that.
Trust the Montessori adult or the teacher: You have chosen the school after a lot of research, trust the school to take care of your child. In an authentic Montessori environment specially, a trained adult has gone through a rigorous Montessori training, s/he is willing to treat your child with respect.
Pick your child up on time: It is important that children learn through consistent experience that each goodbye, as hard as it may be, is followed by a happy return. Don’t get late, that will make the child more nervous in the initial days of school.
Accept the way your child feels: If your child expresses his/her concern, appreciate that and say something like, “I know, you feel sad when Appa leaves you, but you will soon start enjoying your school. We will come to pick you up, and then you can have some more fun.”
Do not stand outside the school gate for the entire time: I did that, and I stopped when I knew this made the experience worse for me. Instead, call the school to check once or twice.
A Montessori school works best when parents collaborate with the school for the benefit of the child.
Note - Ayelet aims at fostering a community of children, educators and families, to support the optimum development of the child for life. Located in a beautiful little space, in MICO Layout, BTM, Bengaluru, Ayelet follows pure Montessori approach. At Ayelet Montessori, each child is treated as a unique individual, it is your perfect little Montessori around the Corner.