The transition from being home in a loving atmosphere to being surrounded in a semi conventional classroom can be a bit of a challenge and can lead to feelings of loss and confusion for some little ones. The first day of preschool is the first stepping stone to letting go of your child into the great wide open. To grow and to blossom into the individuals they were meant to be. That doesn’t mean that as the parent we don’t yearn to hold them back and keep them home. Most of us would be lying to ourselves if we denied our natural instinctual yearning to keep our children at home longer. But if you are looking for the conventional route of education then you need to be prepared for letting go.
At least a month before preschool, start, talking about what to expect when they enter preschool, let it be part of normal conversation. Bring up how they will do arts and crafts, and sing songs and learn interesting things about animals. Talk to them about it often throughout the day; make it part of everyday conversation. Answer any questions they have without to much hesitation or worry on your face, they will gather information about preschool and sort it and store it in their minds for the actual event. If you notice they are really enjoying themselves and it seems like an activity they would more likely demonstrate in preschool, get excited! And endorse the idea that in preschool they will be doing that too.
Read children’s books about preschool and the first day of preschool, hold the child in your lap at story time, and read at bedtime. Do this often, pick a variety of books with different feelings, so they understand that their feelings are okay, but make sure that they end with a positive. And they will be okay as well. This will help them feel connected knowing that the feelings they hold are shared and they are not alone in this.
Take them to a preschool for a few hours and hang out to check out the feeling. Verbally express what you see, and what the children are doing, and if you can let the child cut or draw and/or participate in what the other children are doing, this engagement would be a fantastic way to introduce the child to preschool atmosphere. You can do this at the end of the school year or the beginning.
Realize that no matter how much you try to prepare a child or yourself for letting go, it can be quit difficult. Just brace yourself, you may need to spend time in the classroom if allowed (most schools do allow you in there as a helper) in the beginning. Be patient, ease into it, the transition will soon take effect and they will blend into the environment, and find their place.
Express your love for the child and let them know that you are just a phone call away. Keep a letter in the back pack with a picture of the family. Support them on their new adventure to learn and bring home lots of questions and pondering for you as the parent to refresh on. If they need something special from home like a teddy, or a blanket don’t deny them this, it will be temporary,. The first day of preschool can be pretty scary give them comfort and courage.