Last Thursday was Orientation Day for T's preschool. He will be going to a little preschool a mile or two from our house that's hosted by a neighborhood church. It's a nice little place--nothing fancy, but all I'm hoping for is some good experiences as he learns to play with other kids. It would also be nice if he could learn how to read, but, hey, you get what you can, you know?
The school had a three-year-old class and a four-year-old class. I wouldn't bother sending him to school at all if he had just turned three, but as he is nearly four I feel pretty comfortable sending him to preschool with the other three year olds. He seems ready to me. He's ready for the interaction with other kids his age, he's ready to be challenged in new ways, he's ready to manage a new situation.
I'm a little apprehensive about the initial separation the first few days of school. He's never been one to part happily from my company, unless it's to spend time with his beloved Grandpa and Grandma. He's plenty social and engaged when he knows I'm nearby, but he has some anxiety when he thinks I've left.
We had been talking about preschool some and I tried to explain that it is like his Singing and Dancing class, only he would be there without me and Anna. He would have his teacher, and some friends to play with, but that I would be dropping him off, saying good-bye and that I would be back later to pick him up. Then, he could show me all of the things he had done while I was away. I explained that there would be new toys to play with, stories to read, and songs to sing. He still seemed to think that this was a pretty poor exchange for my company, but I think that after having a chance to see the classroom and play with some new toys he'll do just fine. I will admit to being pretty nervous myself for that first day.
I'm trying to think of some tricks I can use to help ease the adjustment. T really likes timers. I've been toying with the idea of putting a timer in his backpack for him and telling him that he can go and play. When the timer goes off, it will be time for me to come pick him up. That way he wouldn't have to worry about missing me, somehow. I wouldn't even need to set the timer. I could just tell him it's there and hope it gives him the security he needs to let me go for a while. P thinks this is ludicrous, of course. He's more of the "push them out of the nest and see if they fly" philosophy of parenting. I'm worried about making the beginning more traumatic than it needs to be. I've tried not to talk about it too much, or even dwell on the separating aspect of it, but I'm a little anxious and I'll feel better for having a plan to deal with T's worry on that first day. Really, we just have to get through the first day or two. I know he'll love it once he gets used to it.
Any advice for easing the transition to school?