As an organization dedicated to Enrich Lives Through the Power of Connections, I hope to encourage you to live in the magical moments of autumn and relive your first day of school.
The start of each school year signals new beginnings, and each member of the childcare community prepares in special ways. RECEs, Teachers, and Assistants take extra care to make their classrooms beautiful and have everything organized and ready for the return of students. Moms and Dads may start the day just right by preparing their child’s favourite breakfast. Children lay out their backpacks, school supplies and first day clothing the night before. They may pop out of bed just a few minutes earlier – being late for the first day is unthinkable! In the air, there is the anticipation and promise of all that the new school year may hold in store.
I wish to share a few Back-to-School strategies below, which are designed to help you let your child go. Keep in mind that the more secure you feel, the more confident your child may be (https://www.pbs.org).
Talk about school at home.
Specific questions might get your children talking. “What was the best part of the story your teacher read today?” “Was there an activity that you enjoyed doing in the morning?” “What did you do within the playground?” You do not need to be there to learn about what your child does at school. When your child brings work home, comment on it with specifics. However, do not be surprised if your older child does not always want to talk much. The best time to speak to your child about school is just before bed, after they have had an opportunity to absorb their day.
Remember what school was like for you.
“What you think school will be like for your child is likely based on what school was like for you. It’s therefore important to recognize that your child may have a very different experience than you did.”
Acknowledge your own separation pangs.
Parents worry when their children start school. “They worry if the teachers will really know how to care for their child. They feel loss because this may be the first time their child is away from home this long. They may also feel loss because they work full time and cannot be there – at school – to help their child adjust in person. They may feel guilty if they have to leave a crying child at school and go off to work. But they too can find ways to work things through by talking with a friend, their partner, and the school principal, if needed,” advises Lawrence Cohen, Ph.D., author of “Playful Parenting.”
Understand your role in the separation process.
“Your separation issues could be feeding your child’s,” reminds Diane Levin, Ph.D. “If you are having trouble separating, your child will always pick this up. One way you can help you both feel better is by developing a trusting relationship with the teacher.”
The preparation and emotion that lead to the first day of school signals the start of something important – a new start, a new year of opportunity, a new year of learning and growth for everyone in the childcare community.