Transitioning to a new school or beginning school can be difficult for some children. Apple Montessori Schools aim to combat this and relieve the stresses of starting school by implementing a “whole-child” approach that nurtures each student intellectually, socially and emotionally.
However, there are also steps that parents can take to help their child feel more comfortable entering a new environment. Here are a few tips on how to prepare children for their transition into early education.
Talk About It: Simply talking out what school is like can help ease a child’s mind about what to expect. Be sure to let them ask the questions that are on their mind and do your best to answer them honestly and in a positive way.
Play School: Children love to pretend, so why not pretend to be in school before the first day arrives? Playing school can help your child better understand the roles of and relationship between students and teachers, as well as make them feel more comfortable doing school-related activities.
Visit School: It never hurts to do a test run and give children an idea of what they can expect on their first day of school. Some schools arrange for teachers to meet their students before the school year starts, but even if this is not the case at your school, you can still take the drive and show your child where they will be eventually learning.
A Prompt, Loving Goodbye: If your child is clinging to you and having a hard time saying goodbye on the first day, don’t get upset; this is normal. Leaving your child at preschool for the first time can be difficult on parents, but it’s still important to make sure it’s done properly. DO NOT sneak out of the class room. It might be tempting, but this can leave your child feeling abandoned. However, a long, drawn-out farewell can also raise red flags in your child’s mind and make them think school must be a bad place. Be sure to say a loving goodbye, but after that, leave promptly.
Get New Back-to-School Gear: What child doesn’t love getting new stuff? You can make going to school exciting for your child by getting them some new school clothes and supplies. This typically makes children more eager to start school so that they can wear their new clothes and use their new items.
Start a Routine: School schedules are often regimented and being on a routine like that can come as a shock to children who have not had to do so before. Ease your child into this kind of schedule by starting a routine at home for them to stick to. This way doing certain things at certain times in school won’t come as such a shock to them.
Schedule a Playdate: A large benefit of school is the interaction children get with other children. Lifelong friendships can be formed in early education, and parents can help facilitate this process by scheduling a playdate for their child with another kid in their classroom. If your child develops friendships with others at school, he will naturally feel more comfortable when in that environment.