We are now just under four weeks away from Tiny and Buba’s first day of preschool. T and I chose to send them to a local co-op school that strives to build a strong connection between the child’s home and the school. As a result, we’ve already spent a good amount of time on the school grounds, connecting with other classmates and their parents, and talking about what it will be like when they start preschool this fall.
Back in mid-June, we received the kids’ class list noting which days each student will attend. All 20 kids in the class have schedules that allow them to know all the other children in the class, even though only 12 kids attend on any given day (meaning, their schedules all overlap at some point in the week). To help them all get to know each other, optional playdates were set for Monday afternoons and Friday mornings from late June until the week just before school begins. The playdates take place on the school’s playground, helping them become familiar with the school grounds as well.
Recently, each family received a welcome letter from the teachers. The letter included photos of the two teachers to post on our refrigerator for the kids to view and talk about. The teachers are currently in the process of setting up a home visit to each family, where they’ll talk and play with their incoming students and get to know a little more about them.
Similar to many preschools in our area, Buba and Tiny will have a visiting day prior to the real first day of school. On this day parents come into the classroom and stay as the kids get their first introduction to the school and their classroom. The visiting session is just one hour long and only three other students and their parents will be with us (five kids attend each one hour time slot throughout the visiting day). The following Monday, the children begin attending school on their own, but just for two hours each day. It isn’t until the following week that the full schedule of three hours a day, three days a week kicks in.
Tiny is naturally confident and independent, and I’m sure she will have no trouble transitioning to preschool this fall. But for Buba, who has a harder time separating from T and me and who takes longer to warm up in new situations, I’m so, so glad he’s had all of these opportunities to ease into the whole preschool thing. He already knows and looks forward to seeing a handful of his classmates, and he’s confident enough now to explore different areas of the school grounds (there are four different play areas) without me right by his side. He was very shy when we happened to meet his teachers during one of the playdates, but I’m hoping the home visit will help him become a bit more comfortable with them.
Fingers crossed that all this leads to an easy and smooth transition once that first day of school finally rolls around!
So, how are you/will you prepare your children when the time comes for them to begin school?