Mary Sweeney | August 24 | Cougar Chronicle

Dear New School Early Childhood Families,

Completing the first full week of school is a momentous occasion for any parent and child. As parents, we are sending our children out into the world, entrusting others during these challenging times. Some of our children are entering a new environment or returning to one they have great memories of. One thing is for sure, they are surrounded by sweet friends and loving teachers ready to build relationships and engage in fun and learning here at The New School.
 
Many questions pop into a parent’s mind after this first week of school. You might be wondering: What if they don’t want me to leave? What if the teachers can’t understand what she wants? What if they cry? Do I want to use the car line? What if they won’t get out of the car? Preparation for all these questions will vary based on your child’s age. All children will notice that something new is happening, and when the initial excitement wears off, they may react to the many changes in a different way. Younger toddlers may be a little fussier than usual, and older children may be a little clingier, but this too shall pass.
 
You can feel more confident and ensure the smoothest transition for both you and your child with a bit of preparation each morning. Of course, how you do all this will depend upon the child’s age, temperament and level of maturity. 

General Tips for Transitioning Back to School

  • Develop relationships with the teachers in your classroom. Keep the communication open by asking questions and sharing any anxieties you might have about your child with their teacher. Our teachers spend the day with your child and want you to feel comfortable while you’re apart.
  • Stay engaged with your child’s school day. Bloomz is a great way to receive updates from your child’s teacher and their school.
  • Understand that children react to new situations and changes in different ways. Discuss your child’s temperament with your child’s teacher and possible reactions to their new environment, especially if they seem to be struggling at drop off.
  • Organize your child’s materials for the day. If you are walking in for drop off, try to have everything ready to hand to the teacher for a seamless transition. Combining preparation with separating quickly at the classroom door will make for an easier transition for your child.  If you’re using the carline, prepare your child’s materials for them to take to class so you can wave at the window and make a smooth exit for the day.
  • Practice staying calm and preparing for the day during goodbyes. If you are using the car line for drop off, practicing your goodbye is essential. Help your child understand that while they are exiting with their teacher, you will stay in the car. A great routine here is significant for the child to feel safe upon the exit of the car. This could sound like, “Have a great day, and I will be back and pick you up in the car line,” or “Today will be fun! Dad will pick you up inside today.” 
  • Start your family on a new morning routine that can decrease anxiety. Pack everything you need the night before, and place it in a special spot with your water bottle and bag ready. When morning comes, once everyone is dressed and ready, your family can head to the car prepared for the day ahead.
  • Help your child remember they have friends at school. If drop off becomes a challenge for your child, remind them of all their friends who go to school. Reminding them of their teacher’s names, classmate’s names, and some of the school activities will help them feel that school is a familiar, safe and fun place.
  • Talk together about your child’s daily routine. For children, knowing and understanding schedules and routines are critical. For example, you might tell your child, "After I say goodbye, you’ll stay at school with your friends and your teachers, Ms. Chelsey and Ms. Christie; they will take good care of you. You’ll play, eat lunch, sing songs with Mr. Troy, read a story and take a nap.” 

We have crossed a significant milestone being back in school, and we are so excited that we get to spend the day with your child.  We will continue to do everything we can to keep them safe and enjoy each day watching them grow and learn.  
 
Welcome back to school and new routines!

Mary Sweeney

Head of Early Childhood Education

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