Nursery school marks a child’s passage from the security of the home to a new environment at school. This experience is sometimes difficult for both parents and children – the transition can be made easier by being well-prepared for this exciting change.
Getting ready to go to school is an essential part of making this transition in a child’s life. Many times, difficulties or challenges can be easily avoided simply by being well-prepared:
- Parents should be open to the idea that their child will venture out into a new environment beyond the home
- Parents should discuss starting school and taking this exciting first step together with their child
- It is important to remember that starting school is a positive experience
- A visit to the school beforehand is extremely helpful; the child sees his new environment, making the first day less stressful
- If a new sibling is expected in the family, it is a good idea to start nursery school 1-2 months before the arrival so that the child does not feel they are being “sent away” from home.
The first day
- Parents mirror emotions; stress, fear, doubt or hesitation make the first day more difficult
- Parents must be confident; this is a positive experience and non-negotiable part of life for their child
- Start the day early; have ample time avoiding stress and pressure in the morning
- Parents should say goodbye without bargaining or giving in for more time
- Even in the best of circumstances, there may be challenges; remember this is a normal and expected part of separation.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that this is simply one of many developmental stages in a child’s life. If parents view the first day of school as a first step towards independence and a new life experience, which the child will experience many times in the future, it will be a source of great pride and a sense of accomplishment for both parent and child.