Help Your Child to Fly in Pre-school!
The memory of my eldest child being pulled off me every morning in the nursery cloakroom will never leave me. I felt my heart breaking every day and even though with my professional experience I trusted she’d be looked after and be completely fine within 20 minutes, I hated it.
Whatever your experiences, once our children step over the threshold of pre-school, nursery or school it can suddenly feel like we lose control. Here are some things I have learnt to ensure that you can negotiate this time without feeling out of control and with total confidence that YOU know your child best.
The Art of the Goodbye
So, this is really hard. As a Foundation Stage teacher, I have watched a million different ways of breaking away in the mornings. As a rule, calm and quick is the best. To execute this with confidence, make sure you have said everything you need to say on the way to school e.g. Don’t forget to drink water, your snack is in your bag etc.
At the point of saying goodbye, I have found two things work best. Firstly, say that you will see them again later. This provides a deep assurance. Secondly, say goodbye and go. Don’t come back for another kiss, don’t even look back. This is hard but is clear and secure for your child and forms a consistent routine.
If like me, your child pins themselves to you like a constrictor, resist hugging but rest a hand to acknowledge. Let other staff assist and when able, leave. Alternatively, see if you can get someone else to do the drop off for a while. It’s painful, but it normally passes with time and growth.
Communication is Key
Building a relationship with your child’s education setting is vital. The more open this relationship is the better it is for your child. Be confident in asking staff at the end of the day (via email if not possible face to face) how they have been and in turn share how they have been at home. Also, although it’s hard, if something tricky is happening at home, please share that too as it can radically change the support the children are given in the day.
YOU Know Your Child Best
Knowledge really is power, so the more you can share about your unique child the better. The curriculum is heavily invested in the interests of individual children, so do confidently share what they love. If they have done something amazing at home tell the staff or take it in to share. This way staff can respond by talking about it, sharing it and even adapting what they provide during the day to match with this. Your child will see that they learn, grow and achieve both at home and in the education setting.
Trust Your Gut
You know when something isn’t right. If you have ANY concerns, even ‘just a feeling’ make contact and if helpful, arrange a meeting. From 20-odd years in the classroom, I know that parents are rarely wrong on their gut feeling and it is always helpful to join the dots and make positive plans on how to support precious little people in the best way possible.
When I was pregnant with my first, an older colleague and trusted friend advised me, ‘Your job is to take this little package and to teach it to fly’. In that moment I was presented with the realisation that my child is not my possession but my precious responsibility. So, as you wave the painful goodbyes, be confident that this is your child who YOU know best and you are doing a great job in the first steps to independence. You’ve got this.
Also read the 5 Golden Rules for Starting School.
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