The Department of Health requires that I receive these forms from you before your child starts school:
1) A copy of the student’s latest physical from pediatrician
2) Vaccination record
3) Sleeping and Napping
4) Permission for Outdoor Activities
5) Health Guidelines
6) Day Care Registration
7) Consent for Emergency Medical Treatment 8) Authorization to Pick Up Child
9) Questionnaire ( if you haven’t already done it)
Preparing for School
In the summer before they start, some things to do are: Make sure your child can wait to nap until 12:30. Look over our schedule and be sure they are waking up in enough time to get here, food times will work for them, etc. If your child hasn’t been away from you much, arrange some playdates with a good friend where you leave them for a period of time. Make sure your child has been exposed to groups of children (the library has great free events). Be sure your child is comfortable using the bathroom in places other than home, or if in diapers, comfortable with other people changing them. Begin the skills of putting on and taking off their shoes and coat, and recognizing their own things. These are suggestions—you don’t need to push your child beyond where they are ready—it’s a learning process and we are here to help.
Thoughts on Separation
Both children and parents may have difficulty with this because it is a huge transition for both of you. It shows you’ve done your job well–the kids are attached and therefore, ready for the next challenge in their lives. We begin the year with shorter hours as a way to ease this transition, but some kids may still have a hard time. The fact they are having a hard time does not necessarily reflect on their experience at school.
Think about how you feel when you say goodbye to someone you love who lives far away. Knowing you won’t see them for a long time, you get that lump in your throat. It’s hard, not because your life isn’t rich and full, but because you love them and there is a limit set around when you see them. That’s what your kids are feeling, two hours could be three months to them. They are still new in this world and don’t understand it all, and don’t know how to regulate their emotions yet. The moment of goodbye is hard with someone you love. It’s hard even when they are happy at school.
My experience has shown that the clearer you make the boundaries for your child the easier it is. ‘I’m going to give you a hug and a kiss and wave goodbye at the window,’ or ‘I’ll come back when playtime is over,’ or, ‘I will read you one story and then say goodbye’.
The above are only examples–I absolutely respect that you know your child better than us, and whatever separation plan you want is what we will try. Children often need to observe everything first before they participate, but if you are staying, you should participate as they will take their cues from you. If they see you’re comfortable, think school is fun and enjoy the other kids, they will start to feel that way, too.
If your child is crying while you’re with them at school it’s a sign that your presence isn’t helping them adjust; they are only focusing on the separation and will keep crying and clinging to you in an effort to keep you here. It will make it harder for them to calm down when you do leave, and increases their fear because they have sensed your ambivalence at leaving (understandable, but not helpful to your child).
While you stay at school with them, they won’t really connect with their teachers until you leave and then they’ll turn to us.
Be reassured we do not just let kids ‘cry it out’, if they are having a really hard time we will call parents to let them know and make an appropriate plan.
Some kids have no separation issue at first as they are wowed by the toys and the stimulus, and after a few weeks reality sets in and they start having difficulties—very normal, and nothing to worry about. Some kids never have an issue, and that’s normal, too.