First Day of School
When a young child starts in a new school program, it can be a very intimidating process. By the age of two and-a-half, three, or four, the child has become accustomed to being at home, being in a home daycare, or in another childcare facility. The child has come to understand and be comfortable with the process of whichever environment s/he has known. Any type of change requires adjustment.
Contrary to the adult perspective, it is quicker and easier for a child to adjust to the new school environment if the attendance is regular and consistent. In other words, five days a week is easier for the child’s adjustment than two, three, or even four days per week. This is in part because children have virtually no concept of time at this age. A regular schedule presents more repetition, and therefore, a consistent pattern emerges more rapidly than in an intermittent schedule.
With all this in mind, there are some basic procedures that will make this transition easier for both adult and child.
- When bringing the child to the new facility, be sure to enter with confidence. Be cheerful and positive. Give a quick hug and kiss, wish the child a good day, and depart from the center as soon as possible. Lingering in a school will only give the child the impression that either you are apprehensive about the situation or that you intend to remain. The longer you stay, the more you become a part of that environment in the child’s mind, and the more difficult it will ultimately be for you to leave. Please remember, if you are comfortable and confident with your departure, the child will be as well. If you break down and cry, the child will react to you and become concerned. This transition is typically more difficult for the adult than it is for the child. For the child’s sake, please try to refrain from showing negative emotions.
- If the child shows hesitation or reluctance, it is imperative that you smile. Reassure the child that it will be fine. Say your goodbyes and move quickly out of the facility. A lengthy interaction meant to address the child’s concerns will only make the situation worse.
Stay tuned next week for more tips and tricks!
Carla McQuillan, Executive Director
Children’s Choice Montessori