Keep Preschoolers Cool about School
The first day of school is a momentous occasion for parent and child. Excitement, tinged with uncertainty, fills weeks before September. Anxious mothers coax awkward five-year-old fingers to tie shoelaces (or give up and buy sneakers with Velcro), while proud fathers urge their children to write their own names or recite alphabet.
It used to be that children entering school system were expected to have mastered certain skills before arriving, but times have changed, according to Marilyn Philbrick, a primary education co-coordinator for a large, progressive school board. “We recognize that children develop at different rates, and there are no skills as such that we insist a child learn before entering kindergarten. What we like to see is a child who has confidence and a positive attitude.”
Still, starting school marks a child’s first step into world outside family. There are changes and challenges to face. It’s a rare parent or child who can “let go” without some pain. To ease transition from home or nursery school to kindergarten, practice these strategies during summer:
• Talk about school. First-day jitters are common, but being frightened may be more manageable if you encourage your child to express his or her feelings.
• Read about school or help your child to “play school” with you or with friends.