By Dr. Lesley M. Epstein
Preschool is the beginning of the journey of learning. Every facet of learning is a process and so is the firststep, separating from your family. There are ways to make separation a healthy one for family and child.
- Before you even start school, it would be most helpful if you “practice” leaving your child with family members or a babysitter for a short time. Your child will begin to feel comfortable with other people than yourselves and you as the parents will also begin to trust others. It has to work for everyone.
- Visit the preschool together after you have made the decision that this is the right school. Show confidence about the school and point out all the fun, exciting activities the child can enjoy while playing, (it is ok to use the word playing.)
- Give yourselves plenty of time the morning of your first day. A child who has a good night’s sleep, eats breakfast and has a relaxed morning will enter into the school a more relaxed child. Continue to talk about the activities you spoke about so they continue to look forward to playing at their new school.
- Settle your child in and establish a “good-bye” routine. Stay calm and show confidence in the preschool staff, the school and again encourage those fun activities you know your child will enjoy. Reassure your child you will be back at a time your child will understand and then leave.
- Always be on time for your child when picking up. This will build your child’s confidence in developing skills of healthy separation and independence.
There are many goals of your child’s preschool experience. The first one has to be that you and your child feel secure and safe. Once you both pass this first milestone, there are so many more successful steps. Stay positive and always talk positive in front of your child. It should be a happy time for everyone.
Dr. Lesley M. Epstein, As the proud founder of Cambridge Schools™ Dr. Epstein has been actively committed to preschool education and parenting since 1972. She has served as an educational consultant for national organizations and businesses as varied as IBM, Columbia University, and The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC.) Dr. Epstein has designed many cognitively based preschool programs, which are widely used and recognized as national prototypes, and she lectures at education conferences and seminars throughout the country. Dr. Epstein is widely published, having completed “Day By Day,” a daily thematic approach to early childhood education in preschools across the United States. Dr. Epstein is associated with a wide array of local, state, and national organizations, and has received numerous awards, honors, and board memberships for her exemplary work.