Sad. Worried. Anxious. Unsure. And that is just the parents. Starting preschool or beginning in a new classroom with new teachers brings up a lot of feelings. Children and parents may both experience separation at the start of a school year. Starting with home visits and continuing with the short days of Phase-In, Bloomingdale teachers focus on getting to know each child and family. They know that if parents are comfortable leaving their children, the children will feel secure in their new school or classroom. When parents leave, children may be immediately sad, or may break into tears later in the day. The teachers are watching for this and are ready to comfort and reassure them.
Here are some ways that help children and parents through this adjustment period:
Always say goodbye, even if it is difficult for the child at the moment. Establishing a parting routine helps everyone. Waving at a monitor or through the window gives the child some power over events.
The best help of all comes from other children!
Once classroom routines are established, children settle into their new home away from home. Over the course of the year, separation may show up again: after a vacation spent with family and friends, returning to school after an illness, and when changes like moving on to Kindergarten are on the horizon.
Photographs © Laura Dwight/Bloomingdale Family Program