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Tips On Going Back To School from the Palma Ceia Preschool

by Serina Kirkland, CDA, and teacher at Palma Ceia Presbyterian Preschool

     As families of the preschool continue to enjoy their Summer vacations, administration and staff are busy preparing the school for Fall. Summer is the time for deep cleaning, organization, and school-wide improvements. We are delighted by the new flooring inside the classrooms of Eastminster Hall and look forward to getting a fresh coat of paint on the walls. We have said farewell to some staff and happily welcome new teachers with excitement in guiding them into the next school year. While the to-do list is still long, we are gracefully and diligently making progress forward each and every day.

     Looking into Fall, we would like to highlight some important dates… Parent orientation is on August 11th at 4:00pm. This is an opportunity for parents, new or returning, to be welcomed, talk with staff and each other, hear highlights from the parent handbook, and ask questions. Parent/student drop-in days are Thursday, August 15th and Friday August, 16th from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm. These drop-in days are an opportunity for parents to meet with their child’s teacher, and for children to become acquainted with their new teachers and classrooms. The 2019-2020 school year officially begins on Monday, August 19th!

     For first-time students and their parents, the first days and weeks of school can be both exciting and intensely emotional. Even returning students and their parents sometimes shed tears as they say their goodbyes at the gates of new classrooms. As educators, we know that attachment bonds between children and parents are well-established and unmatched in both strength and importance. And we understand that parents may feel anxious at the thought of dropping their children off at school. Keeping this in mind during the first few weeks, teachers strive towards building relationships with parents, children, and building their classroom communities. We want to create a safe and comfortable environment where children can feel at ease creating new bonds with their teachers and peers, and where parents can settle into their role within the school community. Even when implementing best practices, the transition to preschool can still be fraught with difficulties. Below are some helpful tips from NAEYC to help parents make the best of starting preschool.

  • Establish a routine of “early to bed” and “school wake-up time” several weeks before school begins so your child has time to adjust to the new schedule.
  • Arrange play dates with children who will be in your child’s class. Usually moms or dads go along on these early play dates. Ask the teacher or school for a list of children who will be in your child’s class. 
  • If there’s a home visit or school visiting day, make sure you and your child participate. If you aren’t able to participate, call the school to arrange for a visit to the school and to meet your child’s teacher.
  • Read books about going to school and saying goodbye, such as
    • 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
    • A Pocketful of Kisses by Audrey Penn
  • Tell stories about when you went to school and share how you felt about it. Find childhood pictures of yourself and other adults in your child’s life and talk about the photos.
  • Remember that separation is a process. Expect that your child (or yourself) will need time to feel comfortable with the new situation.
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