Imagine that moment when you have to send out your little one all by herself into this big world! It’s the same little one you have not let out of your sight since her birth, the same little one you cuddle and kiss a zillion times in a day, the same little one around whom every minute of your day revolves around! Unsurprisingly so, its a very tough task for a mother. And where are we talking about sending them to…just school you see! well, I have been through this ordeal of sorts very recently and here is my experience.
So, my second girl recently turned two and we thought its time she joins playgroup. This is in itself a big decision to make – to understand and gauge when both you and your little one are ready for school. Two years of age is ideal to start playgroup. Enhanced motor and verbal skills start making it very tough for the little ones to stay limited to the house. They need a wider, more engaging environment – physically and socially – to fuel their growing needs. And not to forget, its time we mommies get to go out on some calm breakfast dates again;)!
The next significant question is where to join them? How do you zero in on the better school? After all, there seem to be so many schools to choose from! Google is one step. Word of mouth another. But most importantly talk to fellow mommies, especially those, whose babies have recently moved from playgroup to nursery. Get first hand information on the school, the kind of teaching methodology, reviews of the teachers and helping staff, hygiene and other such parameters you may deem necessary.
Zero in on the best three, take an appointment with the respective principals, and go meet them with your spouse. Once you get a fair understanding of the scenario, it will help you decide the school basis your liking. We for instance wanted a school that really valued this first step that our child is going to make. A school that doesn’t necessarily push the child but rather creates an organic learning environment where the child proactively participates. Sounds cliche but a school that really plays second fiddle to home!
All of the above is say just 20 to 30% of the deal, the major job involves settling your child down happily and peacefully in this new school. While for some children the transition may not be very difficult, some may find it rather challenging. Do not get bogged down, do not compare your child with another. As we have read and heard a million times by now ‘each child is different’. Be patient and let your child cope at their own pace.
Weeks before the school commences, talk about it with your child. Tell her how she will soon start going to one like other friends in the society or an older sibling at home. Discuss the activities, the learning and the fun that school will bring along. That there will be teachers and nannies to take care of them just like mommy and daddy. You could even read books that introduce school to little children. Also inform teachers what your child enjoys doing most so that they can keep the children occupied with them in the settling-in days. Like books, colouring, slide…just about any viable thing.
When the D-day starts, involve them in every aspect of going to school. Putting their uniform out, packing their backs, snack boxes et al. Get time on your side, start early, don’t rush your child and stress them out. Get them to do things joyfully so that they are happy while going to school. Give them a tight kiss and warm hug! Nothing beats this you know!
Finally, take a deep breath and set them out. Allow them to find their space and commence this beautiful journey!
All the very best!
P.S: In spite of doing all this my daughter still found it terribly difficult to stay away from me for more than a week. Of course I was upset wondering why my child isn’t settling? But a close friend said something comforting that every parent should remember…’your child cries to leave you because she is so happy with you and doesn’t want to trade it…’! It takes time but children do adapt to school like fish does to water sooner than we realise.