I love fresh starts. Clean slates. Like the start of the Jewish New Year, which will be upon us before the leaves begin to change color. Another of my favorite “beginnings” is the start of the school year. Everything feels brand new. There are endless possibilities! The opportunity to get up every morning with a fresh chance to start over is what I love the most and is what I, as the Early Childhood Director, use as a pearl of wisdom to pass onto parents. Each new day in your child’s life is an opportunity to try again. The beginning of the school year can be both exciting and stressful for young children. The educators here at JCC have a wealth of information and years of experience to lean on to help your child not only feel comfortable but to make them feel like the Early Learning Center is their second home. For many, the stress is harder on the parents than on the children themselves. So, I’ve come up with a list of helpful hints to make those first few days leading up to the start of school as well as those first few weeks somewhat easier.
- Read books about going to school and saying goodbye. Here are a few examples I enjoy:
- The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
- David Goes to School by David Shannon
- Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen
- First Day of School by Anne Rockwell
- When I Miss You by Cornelia Maude Spelman
- Take a Kiss to School by Angela McAllister
- It’s Time for Preschool by Esme Raj Codell
- A Pocketful of Kisses by Audrey Penn
- Take a picture on the first day and every first day of school after that. Eventually, you will be able to “view the years gone by” through those photographs!
- Develop a good-bye ritual. This could be anything you and your child decide on, such as a special hug or handshake followed by a “See you later, alligator!” Once you’ve said your goodbyes, it’s best to skedaddle so that your child doesn’t become preoccupied by your presence. Seeing him/her involved in an activity is a good cue that it’s time for you to go.
- Remember that separation is a process. Expect that your child (or yourself) will need time to ease into this new routine and feel comfortable. Know that you have your JCC family of teachers and staff ready to help you and your children through this exciting time in yours (and your children’s) lives.
So take a deep breath, enjoy and embrace the beginning!