First day of Pre-school
The day that you and your child have talked about and looked forward to is nearly here. It is important to plan in advance and have as much prepared as possible to minimise any stress. Being well prepared leaves you and your child free to enjoy the pre-school experience.
• Give yourselves plenty of time in the early days. Soon the new routine will become automatic, but in those first few days you need extra time.
• Choose clothing that is ‘play friendly’ and easy to move in. Young children can be anxious about getting paint, playdough, glue or mud on their clothes. Reassure them that it is ok if the clothes get dirty.
• If your child wants to bring something from home (blanket or loved toy) encourage them to keep it safe in their bag. Children often feel secure in having something from home close by.
• Arrive to the pre-school in good time (not too late or too early). Ensure you have time over the first few days in particular to settle your child. This settling in period is unique and will be different for each child. It is important that you give the time necessary in the early days to help your child be comfortable and happy in the new setting.
• On reaching the door, smile and talk with the teacher in a friendly way. Seeing Mammy or Daddy talking with the pre-school leaders will give your child a sense of ‘this is a good place to be’.
• Relax and don’t fuss. Let your child know that you’re confident that they can manage. Remember that your child is alert to the emotional messages you send out, so don’t panic and don’t let the child see you crying. (If they do, explain that you are crying because this is a happy day).
• Allow your child time to observe. He may be unused to the noise, he may feel comfortable just watching the other children for a while. Follow his cues as to whether he wants to sit and play with some toys or join in with others.
• When it is time to leave, let him know that you are going and will be back. If he gets upset take the time to reassure him and take some guidance from the pre- school leader (who is experienced in helping children to settle but of course, you know your child best).
• Finally, head out of the pre-school confident that your child will successfully manage this key transition in his life. Leaving your child, especially if he has been upset, can be emotional for you as the parent. Plan to have time in these early days, to drop and collect, to listen and talk with your child. Time invested now will settle both you and your child.
• The golden rule is to be there on time to collect your child. Being there builds your child’s trust and confidence, allowing him to get on with the business of play and learning.