Welcome to Charleston Bilingual Academy. The first day of school is an exciting milestone in your child’s life. Your child is embarking on a journey that will lead them and you on many roads of discovery and learning.
As wonderful as this new experience will be, it can also be quite stressful for your young child. New situations and change can, at times, be unsettling for all of us. For many children, this may be their first experience of separation from parents or caregivers at home. It is common for even the most outgoing child to be anxious the first day of school.
We have provided a few suggestions for assisting your child during this time. Remember, our staff will be available to provide support and assistance; making your child’s first school days happy days.
- Prepare your child for the new school experience by explaining what to expect. Answer all questions directly and honestly.
- Convey a positive attitude. Young children are aware of your feelings. Your enthusiasm will assure the child that school will be a fun and exciting place.
- Establish a routine involving both the night before a school day as well as morning preparation. Rituals and routines will add predictability and are comforting in unfamiliar situations.
- Clearly state to your child where you will be and when you will return. It may be helpful to discuss what will happen when you are reunited.
- Be prepared for some tears. It’s a scenario played out at preschools everywhere. A child, screaming, holding on to mom or dad’s legs for dear life, refusing to even look at the classroom, much less walk into it alone. Relax…it’s normal. Kids this age thrive on familiarity so when they are placed into a new situation, it is common if they panic a little bit.
- For some children, crying does not start until they see other kids doing it. It is almost like peer-pressure and you can almost see the thoughts forming in your little one’s head. “If he’s crying, then there must be something I should be upset about too.” In any case, crying children are nothing new to a preschool teacher. Trust us that they have a process in place to deal with this very situation. Follow it. In most cases, they will encourage you to leave. It will probably be the hardest thing you will have to do, and we understand that. However, it really does work. Usually the child stops crying within five minutes of the parent leaving. You will return to your child’s classroom a few hours later to find your child happy and content with a pile of artwork they cannot wait to show you. If the preschool teacher cannot get your child to calm down, they will be in touch. Trust in their experience and know they have your child’s best interest at heart.
- Maintain a clear good-bye routine. This may include warning the child you are leaving in 1 minute, a kiss and hug, or a wave from the window. Once you tell your child you are leaving, it is important to follow through. Extending the good-bye with “ok just one more kiss, and then I really have to go” tends to heighten anxiety rather than relieve it. Avoid sneaking out as this seems to encourage children to become less trusting and makes the second day of school even harder.
- Set them up for success. Provide them a great breakfast before school, and send in a healthy and tasty snack. Dress your child with clothes that allows him to run around and even get dirty (e.g. closed-toe shoes).
Please know that we are here to help make the first day of school a happy transition and we look forward to an exciting and fun year!
Nate Johnson and the Charleston Bilingual Academy staff