I have been an elementary school volunteer mother for several years, my time has mainly been dedicated to kindergarten classrooms. Over the years, I have realized that the beginning of the school year can be a difficult time for these new young students. A few of the struggles I’ve observed include children who have a hard time detaching from their parents for the first few hours, children fear not making friends, and children feeling uneasy about the whole transition. After talking to the children on the first couple of days of school, I have learned most of their fears come from not understanding why they are there, and it’s a bit worse for those who did not attend preschool.
Parents can help alleviate some of their anxiety and fears if the learning conversations take place in advance. You can dedicate time talking to your child about school on a daily basis and break it down into topic categories such as learning, teachers, students, drop off, pick up, recesses, lunch, and describe what their day might be like. It is also important to explain schedule changes so that they understand why early bedtimes are important and how this helps them get through the day.
Taking children to visit the school before the first day of school is also a good way to make them feel comfortable, and you will also have a better visualization when you talk to them about their day.
Remind your child that you or someone from your family will be there to pick them up at the end of the school day ready to hear all about what happened and the awesome things your little scholar will be learning.
Talk to your child about classroom behavior. Covering all related topics: respect, sharing, taking turns, being silent when the teacher is talking, explain that in the classroom the teacher is the one who makes decisions and that the teacher is the person all students should obey.
Mostly kindergarten teachers meet the parents of their new students weeks before school begins. This meeting is for children to meet their teacher, find out where their classroom is, get to know who the other classmates will be, but above all when the teacher explains how to they teach their class, rules, schedules, and how to best help children during this time of transition. It is in your best interest to attend this meeting. If for some reason you can not attend, ask a family member or friend to attend and share the information with you. You want to be as calm as possible so that you can help your little one on their big day.
If you are feeling a little lost or overwhelmed on the first day be sure you ask for help, there should be teachers and staff available to help on the first day. It is important for children to know teachers and parents are on the same team, working together to help students.
As a daughter of teachers, I know how awesome my parents felt when families and teachers worked together. They felt good when their work was appreciated and their students were succeeding!
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