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Surviving the First Day of Pre-School

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#1 *Ghania*

Posted 02 February 2009 - 10:59 AM

The first day of school or pre-school is an event our littlies greet with much trepidation. While my first and second grader started school late last week, my almost 3 year old started her first day at pre-school today.  Although I was looking forward to having Maya start pre-school, I was worried about how she would fare on her first day.  Will she scream and cry? Will she cling to my leg, like she usually does when she doesn't want to be separated from me?  

And, on a smaller scale, I was a little worried about whether or not there'd be tears on my end. After all, this is my baby taking her first tentative steps into the big world.

The good news is that there was no tear shedding on my part. But it is still early in the day, so who knows what will happen between now and her pick up time of 1 pm (first day is a half day).  I mean there's a whole 124 minutes to go. Not that I'm counting, right?!

But back to Maya. While there was some initial clinging and crying, (nothing too dramatic, I am happy to report), we managed to rationalise with her and soon had her seated with a puzzle which she immediately began to pull apart and then confidently proceeded to put back together. There was the occasional glance towards my direction to make sure mummy was still around. Minutes later I was asked to say goodbye to her and to reassure her that I would be returning to pick her up shortly.  There was to be no final goodbye kiss or hug, which was just as well because although I consider myself to be a well seasoned mother, I am certain that a hug or kiss would have ended with tears on both our parts.

After saying goodbye to my precious girl, I lingered outside her class room for a few minutes.  Much to my disappointment, I couldn't hear her little voice calling out to me (I mean, who doesn't want to feel that their baby still needs them and wants them?!). In fact, when I peered through the little window on the class room door, she was happily arranging colourful pieces of her puzzle.  

To be honest though, I'm not too surprised by Maya's ability to settle down quite quickly, After all, this is a little girl who can strike up a conversation with almost anyone she comes across, who confidently expresses her opinion, who loves to meet and play with other kids her own age and loves to mother kids who are younger than her.  She made it quite clear from a young age that she could dress herself, feed herself and clean her self.  She was toilet trained relatively early and has no problem taking herself to the toilet. So, she should be fine. No, she should be better than fine.

Have I convinced you yet? Because, to be honest I'm not sure I've convinced myself.  Okay, so technically, she'd be doing great on her first day at pre-school. But what if she's not? I mean, although I can't imagine what could possibly go wrong, what if something does go wrong?  

The voice of reason reassures me that she's been left at a reputable pre-school with qualified staff and that if anything was to go pear shaped, I'd receive a telephone call to let me know.

But of course, as many of you know, the voice of reason doesn't tend to be all that strong when our babies leave our full time care and go into the care of others. Whether it's the first day of child care, pre-school or school, we are as parents plagued with worries that often turn out to be unnecessary.  Because when it comes to being parents, there are times when we abandon the voice of reason and simply allow ourselves to be swept in a tide of emotionally charged thoughts.  And today, is such a day.  So for the meantime, I will allow myself to worry about my little girl and to miss her terribly. And when I pick her up in a couple of hours' time, there will be a sense of relief that I have managed to successfully make the first steps onto the (long) road of trusting other people with the care and education of my precious child.

Did any of your children start their first day at care/pre-school/school this year? If so, how did you both manage? For our readers with older children, what are your memories of your child(ren)'s first day at school?  And finally, do you have any tips for getting through the first day of school without too many tears (for all parties involved!)? I'd love to hear your stories.

(On a different note, I would like to welcome back all our readers and to invite you to e-mail me any queries or topic suggestions to ghania@optusnet.com.au.  Although my posts on this blog often tend to relate to my own mothering experiences, I'm happy to address wider, more generalised parenting issues that may be of interest to our readers.)

Edited by *Ghania*, 05 February 2009 - 04:58 PM.

#2 becks100

Posted 09 February 2009 - 12:49 PM

I too said goodbye to my three year old (also called Maya) last week as she started her very first day at preschool.I think that I was more terrified than her, and I spent most of the short time she was gone pacing the floor and making phone calls to pass the time. There were tears - lots of them (hers, mind you, though my resolve threatened to break a few times) - and lots of worried calls made by me from the parking lot, from down the street, from the front door the moment I got home. But from all reports she was fine, and the little girl that came home that afternoon suddenly seemed older, more grown up. Week two starts tomorrow, and I feel just as anxious as last week, but I guess this will just have to be a learning experience for us both.

#3 Primrose

Posted 10 February 2009 - 12:27 PM

Yes, my DD started her first day at Preschool. Because she's normally so confident we expected her to go a lot better than she did. She begged me to stay with her and so I spent the first morning there reading stories to the children. When I finally left (just before lunch) she didn't cry but her face said it all. I went home and cried for about two hours. She is a lot more confident now but I admit to missing those lovely days we shared together. It's such a huge milestone to reach!

#4 Zinfandel

Posted 10 February 2009 - 12:54 PM

Hehe, this rings a few bells!  My little Maya (my first, 3 1/2) has been at pre-school for over a term now, since they had one day a week spare for her late last year.  I know what you mean, becks, about them returning more grown up!  My Maya had a few tears but besides that could not have been happier, and comes home every day now with new skills, new friends and new craft original.gif  I had a few tears in response to hers (once safely on my way home) but after that I had DS to deal with (18months now), who needed 100x more attention once his playmate was away, so I only called the preschool once to check on her.  I think DS missed his precious big sister even more than I did original.gif

But once her first day of big school comes around, which will coincide with DS's first day of preschool...!  Well, let's just say I'm thankful there's another one on the way to keep me occupied!

#5 JadeGreene

Posted 30 May 2009 - 09:50 PM

Huh? What's the big deal with the first day of preschool or prep or first grade (depending where you live)? Haven't you been working since your kids were babies and they're used to the idea of going to play at a centre with more or less structure 5 days a week by now? My son is the one dragging me out the door in the mornings. I don't get it. Who stays home until the anklebiters are 4 or 5 for goodness sake? And is it any wonder if you're insane by the time they finally give you a minute's peace? I personally think it would be best all round if we could take our 52 weeks unpaid mat leave (or whatever paid scheme we eventually get) anytime in the first 4 years. That way we could stay home with self-entertaining 3 year olds instead of with screaming bundles of poo and vomit. But that's my dream. Let's assume that you're sold on the benefits of breastfeeding and sacrifice yourself to your kid for the first year without losing your job security/sanity. Then you go back to work right? Who doesn't? I don't know anyone who doesn't. And I don't know anyone for whom the first day of preschool was a big deal. Sorry, don't get it.

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