Dear BFS Families,
What a wonderful first 2 days! Thank you for coming in with such openness and positivity to this new school year. I had a chance to meet many of you, and look forward to meeting all of you in the coming days- though I will know your child’s name way before I have yours down pat!
I would like to share with our new families in particular some suggestions and thoughts on supporting the children during the transition to a new school environment throughout the first few weeks. For our our returning families, please note that even the change to a new classroom can be a significant transition for a young child. This can be particularly true when old friendship connections shift and change with the addition of new classmates.
Half of Sunshine gathers in the cozy corner tent
Exploring the materials in the Dragonfly Dramatic Play Area
The BFS teachers and directors are here to help the children and you during what can be an emotional time, and to support a happy and healthy transition to the preschool day. Even if your child had a perfectly smooth beginning, things can shift when the reality of permanence sinks in. During the first few weeks of school, please know that it is absolutely developmentally appropriate if your child (even if your child has been in daycare/preschool before):
Is shy and clings to you
Displays some aggressiveness and has difficulty sharing.
Tires easily and is perhaps more apt to cry.
Resists using the school bathroom and has accidents.
Doesn't want to talk much about what happens in school.
These are expressions of possible tension and anxiety about being in a new situation and will slowly disappear as your child becomes familiar with their teachers, classroom peers and routines. Our wonderful teachers will use their skills, experience and empathy to ease this process, and to help engage your child and bring them into the exciting world of the preschool classroom at their own pace, and respecting their individual emotions and needs.
Reading a book with your child in the morning is a great way to start the day
Discovery table in Jitterbugs. What can we hear?
Parents and Caregivers: You are a crucial part of the transition process
We know that as parents, you might have preschool jitters too. We understand- but do remember that your child can pick up on your emotions and body language. If you are calm and relaxed at drop off, it will be easier for your child to follow your cue. Young children absorb our feelings and anxieties readily- they are much stronger and relevant to them than whatever may be verbally expressed. Your role as facilitator of engaging in this new experience is crucial, as well as working in partnership with the teachers, by:
- Being aware of your body language and stance. Try gently to disengage physically from your child. It communicates something strongly when they are verbally encouraged to engage in a conversation or activity, but are being held or protected by a parent or caregiver. Of course they may want the comfort of your touch- try sitting or standing behind them and facing them out to the experiences unfolding around them.
- Having your child bring in a favorite security object (doll, photo, stuffed animal, etc.)
- Supporting your child take time to simply stand and watch activities knowing that observing is a form of participation.
- Understanding that it is okay for your child to take time to adjust to classroom routines.
- Allowing ample time in the morning for family routine- a nourishing breakfast, a pleasant walk/ride to school, family conversations, etc.
- Arriving at school on time is very important so that your child has time to ease into the free choice activities at the beginning of the day, and arriving on time for pickup so your child does not feel anxious. Please arrive by 9:10 am.
- Having a cheerful, positive attitude as the child leaves you at either home or at school, such as, “Goodbye, I’ll see you later! Here are three kisses!”
- Always making sure that you express a clear goodbye and intention to leave. Leaving while your child is distracted may seem like a good way to avoid tears, but in the long run it can harm trust in your return.
- Encouraging talk about school by asking specific questions such as, “Did you play with blocks (play dough, paint) today?”, rather than,”What did you do today?”
Most importantly please see the classroom teachers are your partners in this process. Communicate with them about any ideas, strategies, concerns or questions you have about transition and separation, and keep them informed of anything happening in your child’s life that can impact their school experience. I promise you that the best thing you can do for your child’s preschool experience is to develop clear communication and mutual trust with the teachers. Not only will you feel so much more comfortable, but your child will know and feel this partnership, and it enables them to trust and relax into this experience.
The BFS Directors, Mikia (Operations Director), Daniela (Assistant Ed. Director) and myself are working behind the scenes to support families, and our teachers. Please feel free to visit the office for any questions or concerns, guidance for the transition process, or just to introduce yourself and say hello.
We hope that your family has a wonderful year here, in a space where children are free to learn, create, explore and express themselves. The journey has officially begun!