The commencement of each school year symbolizes fresh beginnings, and every member of our childcare and education community approaches this time with thoughtful preparation. From Early Childhood Educators, teachers, to assistants, there is an extra touch of care in preparing the classroom environments and ensuring that everything is meticulously arranged for the return of our eager learners. Parents, too, embark on the day by crafting their child’s favourite breakfast, thus setting the tone for a positive start. Children may be tearful the evening before, need more reassurance and love, and on the morning of school, rise a tad earlier. There is a palpable sense of anticipation in the air, brimming with promises of what the new year holds in its embrace.
I am delighted to offer a selection of Back-to-School strategies below, thoughtfully curated to assist you in supporting your parents gracefully letting go of their children and fostering their independence and growth. Keep in mind that your parents’ positive attitude and trust in you can greatly influence their child’s confidence. (Source: https://www.pbs.org/parents/back-to-school).
Create a dialogue about school within your home environment.
Pose specific questions that encourage your children to share their experiences. “What was the most exciting part of the story your teacher shared today?” “How did you spend your time on the playground?” Remember, you do not need to physically be at school to understand your child’s experiences. When they bring home their schoolwork, engage with them by offering insightful comments. It is worth noting that older children might not always be eager to share extensively. The optimal moment to converse about school is often just before bedtime, allowing children time to process their day.
Reflect on your own school experiences.
It is natural to draw parallels between your own school days and what you envision for your child. However, bear in mind that their educational journey could differ significantly from yours.
Acknowledge your emotions during this separation phase.
The initiation of school often stirs parental concerns. Worries about whether the teachers truly understand and nurture your child, a sense of loss as your child spends significant time away from home, and the challenge of balancing work commitments can all weigh on your mind. It is important to remember that avenues for support are available. Engaging in conversations with friends, partners, and even the centre supervisor or school principal can provide reassurance, as suggested by Lawrence Cohen, Ph.D., author of “Playful Parenting.”
Comprehend your role in the separation process.
Diane Levin, Ph.D., aptly reminds us that our own feelings of separation might influence our children’s reactions. A harmonious relationship with their teacher can contribute significantly to both your and your child’s comfort.
As the preparations and emotions converge toward the first day of school, we collectively embark on something profound—an essential commencement, a fresh chapter of possibilities, a year of abundant learning and development for all within our vibrant childcare and education community.