Thoughtful Parenting: New school shoes
August is here, and with it comes the beginning of a new school year. The first day of school for many kids means new school shoes, super cool lunchboxes and seeing friends they’ve missed during the summer.
For preschool children, this may be the first time they’re going into a group setting with new caregivers and friends. Preschool will present them opportunities to practice skills such as sharing, using scissors by themselves and making successful transitions from things like saying goodbye to their parents to engaging at center-time.
They’ll also learn about other people’s feelings and get to independently discover amazing wonders, such as how to mix red and blue to make the most beautiful shade of purple.
But, it can be a little stressful for them, too. By taking some time to prepare your child and yourself, the transition can go smoothly for your whole family.
As directors of Heritage Park Preschool, we know one of the hardest things for young children is saying goodbye to their parents and transitioning into a classroom with new caregivers and students. In our program, we encourage new families to visit our school and meet their teachers a few times before beginning, so children know they are in a safe, familiar place.
Familiar separation routines can also be extremely helpful. Each of our classrooms has a “waving window,” where students say goodbye one last time to their parents by blowing them a kiss or sharing a special family wave. As they watch them drive away, children know Mommy or Daddy will return for them at the end of the day (and we know this does a parent’s heart good, too).
Once children have a positive transition from their loved ones, they are ready to play and learn.
Another way you can help prepare your preschooler is by going to the library together to find books about the first day of school. This gives you the opportunity to talk to your child about how they may be feeling or questions they may have about school. We especially love Audrey Penn’s book titled “The Kissing Hand.”
Also, plan a fun day of school supply shopping together. Let your child pick out his or her new school shoes and super cool lunchbox. When children are empowered to make their own choices, they begin to take ownership of their experiences and are already making choices for their future.
When you partner alongside your child’s teachers to support them on this new journey, preschool will be a wonderful time in your child’s life and the beginning of many more exciting years to come.
Denise Turton and Kimberly Clark-Balgenorth are co-directors of Heritage Park Preschool. For more information, find them on Facebook or call 970-879-7811.
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