Tips for the first Day of Preschool

Here are some tips for parents sending a very much-loved child off on the very first day of pre-school. The rest of the story follows.

[Tip #1] Your son or daughter will be back.

[Tip # 2] Be there when your son or daughter comes back.

[Tip # 3] While at school, your son or daughter is in good hands.

[Tip # 4] Don’t forget to have a good camera that you know how to operate and takes good pictures. You won’t get a second chance.

[Tip # 5] The whole school knows that first day routines are different and special.

[Tip # 6] Bus drivers are usually very patient and late that first day if your child takes a bus.

[Tip # 7] Be careful driving to school to take those “entering school ” pictures. There are a lot of people on the road-many doing what you are doing.

[Tip # 8] You will want to take more pictures when he or she gets off the bus or gets out of school-and if at school parking will be difficult.

Parents sending their child off to preschool is a major send off-there’s nothing like it. It might be similar for some parent in some ways like sending them away to summer camp.

The first is the beginning of separations to come; the second is like knowing the kid will come back altogether like some other person-not the one you hugged and waved to as the bus moved away.

Whether it’s preschool or kindergarten, the send-off is, in some quarters, an extended family affair.

When my grandkids went off to pre-kindergarten, it was a short walk to the bus stop down the driveway in North Andover MA. They walked to the back of the bus and they sat there, their little bodies turned, waving farewell to me as I stood there by the side of the road waving back.

When our neighbor’s daughter left for pre-school at the public elementary school, she took the bus, but she wasn’t alone with her mother sending her off.

Dad had stayed home from work; grandma and grandpa had come down from upstate New York, and the maternal grandfather had come down from West Hartford on his motorcycle.

It was a big send off. The bus was late as expected with longer than usual stops to accommodate the separations where the child was happier than the discomfited parent. If the grandparents recalled anything at all it was that their send off eons ago was nothing at all like this.

The bus finally arrived; my grandchildren waited their turn to board for the start of their fifth grade experience. Mimi, that’s her name, happily stepped up, thrown off balance by her backpack and walked to a seat a few rows down and sat in the window seat and smiled back at the small waving crowd. Mom got on board to take more pictures. And then the bus was off while everyone ran for the cars to head up to the school to take pictures of her disembarking and later walking to the front door in the stream of other students, some of them escorted inside by their parents, one on each side, protectively.

Mom, although alone by now, would retrace her steps to school and follow her child, Mimi, home with pictures embarking and disembarking.

Mimi was bouncy and alert after a half day of school. The dog, this time, was there to greet her, too. All the others had gone home or to work. That was the end of Mimi’s first day of school and the beginning of a long journey.