During the first few weeks of preschool, please don’t be surprised if instead of hearing happy children’s voices, as your stroll through the preschool halls you may hear lots of crying. This tends to occur at the beginning of every school year, and can be very shocking and disturbing to parents, especially new ones. To help ease separation anxiety, we do start the year off, with our 1 hour children’s orientation visits. The multi-age classes usually have one of these visits, while the younger class has two. We hope by shortening the amount of class time, the children will realize mom or dad will come back to pick them up.
A couple of things to remember about separation issues. First, I know this seems so hard, but the quicker you can leave, really is better. Most teachers are prepared to implement the “band-aid” method, where we can quickly “peel your child off of you” and sit with them in the classroom. If you are not ready for the “band-aid” method, then do your best to get your child settled and then leave in a timely manner. (We may need to close the classroom door to keep you child from chasing you down the hall.) Another thing to keep in mind, is that some students do not want us to talk to them, look at them, or acknowledge them in any way while they are crying. Please know we are aware of the child crying, and some kids just need time to work things out on their own. Also, the crying is contagious! I’ve had many parents worry that their child is crying and they have never cried before when dropped off before. More than likely, they are crying because some other children are crying.
If your child cries solid for twenty minutes, we will touch base with you and formulate a plan. If it is “stop and go” crying, that is a great sign that your child is working through his or her anxiety and will be adjusting to preschool within the next few days. If your child is just mad that you left them, and it is a “power struggle” cry, we will give them a little more time to work it out, since their goal is to just get their way. Most of the time, your child stops crying in about ten minutes, and proceeds to have a successful day at preschool. Last year, we had an adorable little boy who really struggled with separation issues for the first weeks of school, but by the beginning of October his parents couldn’t even keep up with him as he was running into the building.