Five recommendations to successfully prepare for the start of kindergarten
Ilze Griga, manager of “CreaKids” preschool
One of the tasks of preschool is to help children prepare as successfully as possible for starting school, but how to prepare for preschool itself? What aspects should parents consider so that attending preschool is a pleasant event for both themselves and their child? Why should not only children prepare for this event, but also their parents?
Clear criteria for choosing a preschool
In order to successfully start preschool, half of the victory is the parents’ mood and emotional readiness to send their little darling to kindergarten. The child feels the anxiety of the parents and this also affects the child’s own well-being. In order for the child and parents to feel good, it is essential to determine the main criteria for choosing a preschool educational institution, such as reviews of relatives and friends, other parents’ experiences, location, how big the groups are, what the daily routine and traditions are, pedagogical approach and direction, for example classic preschool program or alternative (Montessori, Waldorf, etc.), and go to get acquainted.
Early introduction to preschool
Every family wants to make sure that the child, entering the new environment, will feel happy even when the parents are not around. To ensure this, the first step is for parents to meet with the kindergarten staff and familiarize themselves with the premises and territory. This will help to find mutual understanding and parents will be able to get the much needed sense of security. There are cases when a very short meeting is enough, and there are cases when even several conversations are necessary. When going to get to know the preschool, it is recommended to prepare all the questions of interest in advance, for example, how the daily life in the preschool goes, what they will eat, the activities offered, etc. Professional and experienced educators and preschool managers understand parents’ anxiety very well, so I encourage you not to be afraid to ask questions. The main goal of conversations and meetings is to be sure of the choice made and to know that the child will be in safe hands.
Be ready for an adaptation period
Regardless of the child’s age, both parents and children need a period of adaptation to the new daily rhythm. In total, the adaptation period can last two months or even more. The first crisis most often appears on the third day, the next one – after a couple of weeks, the next one – after a couple of months. This is also the most optimal period to understand if this is the right kindergarten? The most important thing here is not to rush anything. The open approach of preschool education, reflecting the daily rhythm and progress, will help parents feel more secure. In the first weeks, the child may not be ready to stay in the kindergarten all day, so parents should also plan their daily activities accordingly.
Get used to the daily rhythm of the kindergarten gradually
Before the child goes to preschool, parents are informed about the expected rhythm of the day. When getting acquainted with the course of the day, it is worth considering whether to introduce the same rhythm at home as expected in kindergarten and let the child get used to it? I have met both types of parents- those who choose to maintain their usual rhythm, because they do not want to disrupt their child’s habits, as well as parents who try to organize a similar daily routine at home as it is in preschool. If it has been decided to adjust the rhythm, it would not be recommended to do it quickly – so it will be artificially formed and will create the opposite effect. The child will be more grumpy and cranky because he will be woken up earlier than before, or forced to sleep when he is not yet tired.
Preschool values and communication
It is not always the children who find it difficult to get used to preschool. Sometimes it is more difficult for parents, so it is important not to rush, carefully evaluate all aspects and make a well-considered decision. There is certainly no need to worry about the fact that this process happens faster or slower for other families – everyone has their own, individual experience. When getting to know each other, you should pay attention to whether the values of the chosen preschool coincide with the values of the family, and whether the mutual communication is open and positive. Every day, parents only meet educators for a few minutes a day, so trust must be established from the beginning.