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For those that sent their kids to Kindergarten...

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
What was the first day like? Were you allowed to walk in with them?

If you drove them, could you get out of the car and assist them with their car seat (specifically if they were still in a harness)?

We went to Kindergarten parent orientation last night and I'm having some major issues with a few things. And it may be purely hormonal (8.5 months pregnant + first baby going to Kindy), but I sure feel like these things are unreasonable.

First, we cannot take them in, not even to the door of the school, on the first day. I'll be driving ds1 to school and they want us to put them out of the car onto the sidewalk. They'll have adults there to take the kids into the gym and find their teacher.

My worry is that I really feel like there is no way that my ds1 (who was never in child care) will willingly get out of the car and go with someone else. He may surprise me, but he is adamant that he does not want to go to Kindergarten at all. We went to meet his teacher last week and he wouldn't look at or speak to her (super shy, my guy). And am I supposed to just drive away if he's crying and screaming and reaching for me on the sidewalk? The very thought makes me want to vomit.

Secondly, ds1 is still in a harnessed seat and physically cannot buckle and unbuckle the bottom snaps (he isn't heavy enough to go to a booster, either). In the "car line," we are not allowed to put the car in park or get out of the car to help them. We were told last night that they are "big boys and girls and they can buckle and unbuckle themselves" as the car line person made a seat belt motion. If they need assistance, we can pull into the street and help them. So, unless I get a super helpful car line person, I'm expected to pull into the street, then get out of the car and do ds's bottom buckle?

I had a few friends tell me that them not allowing parents to go in on the first day is common, but I had never heard of it before and maybe that is why it is rubbing me so wrong.

It has my Mama Bear going all crazy every time I think about it.
post #2 of 55
My dd is in preschool still for two more yrs and I know that going to school prior to Kindy will help it be less scary, but I would still want to assist her on her first day...and any day after that! I have never heard of such strict rules regarding Kindergarten and drop off - that is truly preposterous! I'm sorry you are confronted with this bs at what could be a very exciting, happy transition for your son.
post #3 of 55
I understand that they make these rules to ease the transition, which may work for many kids who were in preschool or similar environment before Kindy and/or does well with transitions. But you gotta do what you think is right for your little one. It will not be helpful to them (or to you and your DS) if your DS has a meltdown in the carpool lane and holds up all the traffic. So, I would just find a way to "cheat"...for the the first day (or few days), perhaps you could arrive a bit early and park about one block away from school and walk him there? Surely some people live within walking distance and would not be using the carpool lane anyway...

As for the seatbelt/harness, only recently did 5.5yo DD get adept at undoing her own seatbelt of her booster. There would have been no way for her to undo both parts of a harness. So last year I just did a bit of acrobatics in the car: put it in park (or turn off motor), undo my own belt, slide my seat back as far as it can go, reach over and undo hers.

While I think it reasonable to expect a kindergartener to master some of these tasks during kindergarten, I think that it is too much to expect that 5yo kids have that level of skills going in...
post #4 of 55
How are walkers treated? I would park on the street and walk your child in as if they were a walker. This is what I did with my kids the few times I dropped them off after getting the evil eye for getting out since I have child locks on so my kids can't open the door themselves.
post #5 of 55
That wouldn't be ok with me. I would call the school and let them know your concerns. Let them know that your little guy is very anxious about the first day and to make the transition easier on everyone, you would like to walk him to his teacher.

Let them know that you don't expect to be doing it every day but that the first day of kindy is a very big change - expecially for a child who has never had any type of day care / preschool experience - and that you really feel it's important that your child start his year off with the transition being a positive experience.

You may want to be there early since you'll likely have to check in at the front desk, give identification, get a visiter badge etc....

I do find when I go the principal, I tend to get more of a response.
post #6 of 55
I agree with the pp's to find a way to walk him in.

Our schools were very lax. Myself and a few other teary Moms hung out in/out of the classroom for days! The teachers never seemed to mind.

I have to say I don't agree with the "technique" of just stripping a child from their parents and forcing them to feel confident when their parent is not within sight/contact. I told my kids things like "Mommy will meet you at recess (with a special snack etc), Mommy will be here to pick you up, Mommy is just outside the door if you need me..." (important to add I always followed through on my promise)
DD1 and DS1 both had some teary days but as they made friends it all dwindled away by the end of the first month.
We also spent alot of extra after school playtime with his classmates. Having them socialize together, on the playgrounds and with Mom in sight I think also helped them settle.
DS2 is getting ready to start a full day of K this year He's extremely excited (thank goodness!). His only concern is "Mommy, who will wipe my bum bum if I have to do #2?) :sigh
post #7 of 55
My situation won't help you since my son starts Kindergarten next week. But he did tell me yesterday that he wants to walk in on his own (he said he doesn't need me!). He will have the same teacher as he did last year, though, since he is in the Primary program at Montessori (three years with the same teacher) and this is his third year.

If I were you, I would call the principal and tell him/her that your son has never been in preschool or daycare and that you need to walk him into the school on the first day. Surely, that won't be an issue.

I think the suggestion of parking and walking is also good. As far as the seat belt, I usually lean over and unbuckle the bottom (DS can do the top of his harness by himself) while in the car line. I do have to put the car in park, unbuckle myself, and lean back but it is doable.
post #8 of 55
Wow, it's pretty foreign to me. I understand that these things seem like the norm in some areas, but I've never heard of anything so strict. At our local public school, there is a car line, people park and take their kids to the door. I think in your case, I'd park and walk too.

My guys go to a Montessori, parents take them into the lobby and they go on from there, which really appeases the mother bear in me, because it gives me a chance to discuss with the greeting teacher and issues my children might be facing that day.

What I also meant to mention (sorry, serious lack of sleep) that there is no way my almost 5 year old can undo his entire seatbelt. Not for a lack of trying when we stop, I make him try daily, he just doesn't have the strength at this point.
post #9 of 55
Our school was huge, it had 1500 kids, so there was no way to use parent pickup for that many kids.

We lived in the neighborhood, so we walked in.

The parent pickup line was for cars only, they barely let you stop to let your kids in or out of the car. You basically flung them from the car door as you drove past and then drove away fast enough for the door to close again. No, you couldn't stop to rebuckle, or unbuckle kids.
post #10 of 55
Parents were invited to stay for the entire first day -- it was just like an hour of orientation-type stuff, which was awesome. After that, we could use the drop-off lane, but there was a separate little one just for kindergarten parents, so we never felt rushed -- most parents got out and walked their child to the door, leaving their car in the drop-off lane.

I agree with the posters who said to park a block away and take him in like a walker.
post #11 of 55
I would either pretend to be a walker or go to the teacher/principle with your concerns.

I agree with the statement about developing the independence skills during kindergarden. I would not allow my child to be unnecessarily stressed because of the administrations expectations of what he should be able to do.
post #12 of 55
I don't think it's all that common - not on the first day! I would do the walking in thing by parking a block or so away, as PP's suggested - but I would be afraid that they wouldn't let you go inside the buidling, and they would take your DS to the gym with all the other kids.

I would not be okay with it - even with my kids who are not shy and would be fine with it. I have one starting Kindergarten on Tues. and both DH and I will be taking him to his classroom, helping him hang up his backpack, etc. We want the transition to go smoothly, even though he did super in pre-k. I also want to take pics - including inside his class. After that, he'll ride the bus with his older siblings. He also can't undo his 5-pt harness (though, he rides in a BPB most of the time now), so doing the whole drop off lane w/o being able to get out and help him wouldn't fly if he was in the 5-pt full-time.
post #13 of 55
Could you set up another meeting with the teacher and your DS before school starts to help him be more comfortable with her?

My dd is starting K this fall and the rules are similar, but she will be taking the bus (at her own request) so I won't be there to walk her in.

When she started preschool, we met her with her teacher, in the classroom, twice, for periods long enough for her to explore the room and get to know the teacher. On the first day, her teacher met her at our car and we dropped her off and it went fine. Obviously, different kids need different things, but this really helped her feel okay about going to pre-k.

Maybe I'm odd, but I understand why schools have these rules (and they do seem fairly common, IME). It establishes a routine for the kids, and my kiddo likes to know what to expect. Also, I've seen lots of times where prolonged drop-offs seemed harder on the child. And, of course, it makes it easier for the school to keep track of the children and makes a less chaotic space for everyone in the school if there aren't lots of people going in and out.

I would talk with the teacher and/or principal about ideas to help your son make this transition, and stress that this will be his first time in a setting like this.
post #14 of 55
The not being able to walk in seems unusual to me. Last year we walked DD in (she was so excited she barely knew we were there) and got her settled in her room. When we left several other parents were still hanging out. The PTO hosts a little coffee thing on the first day where the parents can hang out a little longer if they want. But, at our school, you can walk your kid in every day if you want to. Sometimes DD would have DH walk her in, some days she wanted to ride the bus, and sometimes she wanted to be walked to the door and go in on her own from there. The school was fine with any of those things.

Our car line is the same as yours, though. If you go through it, your kid has to be ready to get out and close the door on their own. DD is still in a 5-point harness, so on days we drove we parked in the lot so we could undo her and walk her to the door. Traffic is really a huge issue so they actually encourage all kids to ride the bus just to reduce the traffic and keep the kids safer.

ETA: On the first day, may parents put their kid on the bus and then drive to the school to meet the bus and walk the kid in.
post #15 of 55
My ds didn't want me to walk him in his first day of Kindy - I pulled off and cried, but he wanted to do it all by himself.

That said (and we are in public school) you are more than welcome to walk your child into their classroom, visit the class, eat lunch with your child, etc. We also have lots of walkers and lots of people who park and walk their kid up - not just the first day of school, but all year long.

I would talk with his teacher about how to help him transition. Surely you are not the only parent with a child who has never been in preschool and is nervous about walking into school alone. I would think they could do something to help make this easier for you, and your ds. Good luck!!
post #16 of 55
DS was in Kindy last year. Our school does allow parents to walk their children to their room on the first day. We always start on a Wednesday and they just ask that by the following Monday we start the regular routine (so no walking kids to the class). But for the first 3 days of school they don't care at all.

We also have the car line for drop-off. Last year ds freaked anytime we tried it (keep in mind- he also has autism). So we skipped it, parked in the parking lot and I walked him to his class every day. There was actually a period of a couple months where he allowed me to walk him to the front door where his para (aide) was waiting and ds went with him to the classroom.

Today was day 3 of 1st grade for ds. The first day I walked him to his class. But everyone (me, dp, ds's teacher, ds's special ed teacher, etc) made a big deal about how he was a big boy and could do the drop-off line. He agreed to try it. So day 2 (yesterday) we tried it. It worked! He is still in a 5pt harness (probably the only kid in his school who is ) and cannot unbuckle himself. I just leaned into the back (he's in the middle seat so I can reach it) and unbuckled him (after putting my car in park). The teachers/adults there can deal with a 30 second delay. It's not the end of the world If I wasn't able to lean back and get it I would either put ds's carseat on the side where he exits and ask whatever adult opens his door to unbuckle him or I would put the car in park, get out and unbuckle him.

At pick-up we have a similar line. We're told at the beginning of the year to stay in our car and they'll bring the kid to us and put them in. I always get out and buckle ds up because he can't do it. Every other kid is in a booster, which I assume is easier for them to buckle so they don't need parental assistance. However, I won't compromise my child's safety just because the school can't chill for 30 seconds (and 99% of the time the line in front of me isn't moving anyway so I'm not blocking traffic by buckling him up).
post #17 of 55
One more note about the pick-up line, in terms of them hustling you along. At all the schools around here, kindergartners get out of school earlier than all the other grades, so there's not nearly as much chaos/rushing. So parents are totally able to use a few extra seconds to dash around and buckle their kid in if they need to.
post #18 of 55
My DD1 is going to first grade this year (her kindy year was in a Montessori preschool/kindy, so that was a whole different situation) so we'll see how it is. We're moving from CO to ME the day before she's to go to school, so there is no way in HELL I'm just dropping her off and not seeing the school, or the teacher. Not gonna happen. I think I'll walk with her. I don't know her school's rules, so hopefully we won't butt heads!

My nephew does to a rather large elementary school, and it's always been this way at his school. Really, not even enough time to say good-bye before you're yelled at to keep moving. The school is over-crowded, with several temporary classrooms to accommodate the extra kids, so I understand why they do it. I still disapprove.
post #19 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by liberal_chick View Post
What was the first day like? Were you allowed to walk in with them?

If you drove them, could you get out of the car and assist them with their car seat (specifically if they were still in a harness)?

We went to Kindergarten parent orientation last night and I'm having some major issues with a few things. And it may be purely hormonal (8.5 months pregnant + first baby going to Kindy), but I sure feel like these things are unreasonable.

First, we cannot take them in, not even to the door of the school, on the first day. I'll be driving ds1 to school and they want us to put them out of the car onto the sidewalk. They'll have adults there to take the kids into the gym and find their teacher.

My worry is that I really feel like there is no way that my ds1 (who was never in child care) will willingly get out of the car and go with someone else. He may surprise me, but he is adamant that he does not want to go to Kindergarten at all. We went to meet his teacher last week and he wouldn't look at or speak to her (super shy, my guy). And am I supposed to just drive away if he's crying and screaming and reaching for me on the sidewalk? The very thought makes me want to vomit.

Secondly, ds1 is still in a harnessed seat and physically cannot buckle and unbuckle the bottom snaps (he isn't heavy enough to go to a booster, either). In the "car line," we are not allowed to put the car in park or get out of the car to help them. We were told last night that they are "big boys and girls and they can buckle and unbuckle themselves" as the car line person made a seat belt motion. If they need assistance, we can pull into the street and help them. So, unless I get a super helpful car line person, I'm expected to pull into the street, then get out of the car and do ds's bottom buckle?

I had a few friends tell me that them not allowing parents to go in on the first day is common, but I had never heard of it before and maybe that is why it is rubbing me so wrong.

It has my Mama Bear going all crazy every time I think about it.
I'm not even pregnant and just reading your story made me well.

I just wanted to offer my empathy. Follow your gut, do what you know is best for your little guy.

I don't know if you have other school options or if homeschooling is something you have considered. When it comes down to it, if this isn't the right fit for your son, you have the right to make the decision to not send him to this school.

I know it might sound extreme, but I know for a fact that a school that doesn't welcome parents into the classroom (whether on day 1 or day 135) is NOT the kind of school environment that would be a good fit for my DS1. It's the subliminal message of "Sorry, your individual needs don't matter." That's a tough message for some kids, especially highly sensitive kids, to take in at the age of 5.

I used to teach K/1 in public school for 8 years. The first day of school, the parents were encouraged and expected to come in with their child and stay for the first hour. We had parent/child activities set up that included an art project, a scavenger hunt (find your cubby, find the bathroom, find the water fountain, introduce yourself to 3 other people, go say "Hi" to the teacher, etc) and a couple other low-key activities. At the end of the hour, our principal would get on the loud speaker and announce that it was time for all parents to come to the gym for the Welcome Brunch. At that time I would ask the kids to say "See you in a bit" to the parents.

Some kids barely looked up to say "Good-bye." Some waved. Some needed a hug. And yes, some cried and didn't want the parent to leave. But each kid's needs were respected and met individually.

I really could not envision anything less for my own children.
post #20 of 55
I wouldn't be okay with that. DS's first day last year he rode the bus but I met him at the school and walked him to his classroom, took pictures of him at his desk and in front of the door, and made sure he was all situated with his supplies and all that. I'm sure if it's a big school they don't want hundreds and hundreds of parents wandering around the building, but come on, that's a little extreme.
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