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How to prepare a 4yo for preschool with seperation issues...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My DS just turned 4 and has never been away from me (except with DH or my father occasionally) no babysitters, etc. I have always tried to follow his lead but maybe I took AP a bit too far, who knows. Anyway, now I really want him to go to preschool this fall because otherwise I fear he will not be able to handle kindergarten the following year. He does weekly group activities (with me) but definitely is very immature when it comes to social interaction. I think he is emotionally 'behind' his peers but definitely very intelligent (advanced from what I have seen/read)
He insists he does not want to go to preschool without me. I have talked to him about this but he doesn't budge.
We were going to send him last year but I was due right when he would start so we didn't think the timing was right and not sending him turned out to be a very good decision.
I have found a co-op preschool near me that has an opening. Everything else is full. I really need to make a decision ASAP if I want the spot.
Any suggestions for helping him deal with this between now and September?
Thanks, mamas
post #2 of 10

I would try not to worry, since you are looking at a co-op.

Take his lead over the summer. The year DD went to co-op preschool there was one child who's mother could not leave for several months. It worked out... you can do it on his time line. Get him settled and then, when it seems okay have to run an errand real quick, or call someone, or "___whatever___" and go from there.

Of course, this is coming from someone who kept DD out of school because of seperation issues. BUT, working on her time line, now (at 6) she is ready and raring to go (and I'm having to decide just what is best for her) and actually has less problems than many kids her age seperating--- she know's I will be back and that I wouldn't leave her unless it was something good.
post #3 of 10
With a co-op preschool, can't you volunteer as much as you want? If so, you could be in the classroom a great deal in the beginning as he gets used to things, makes friends, and realizes there is an interesting life beyond being at moms' side. I would take it and work with the others on helping him. also, there is actually a lot of time between now and sept. for him to grow and mature. He probably can't "picture" being at preschool without you, but there is time to experiment with the idea between now and then so he can begin to imagine it. You could visit this same co-op preschool a few times during the rest of this year, so he can see the cool toys he could be playing with, the activities, etc. Then you could discuss it with him encouragingly throughout the summer.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you

This preschool has the moms working there only once every 3 weeks for 2.5hrs in the classroom. When I asked about flexibility when it comes to staying with my child and helping him acclimate, I was told that the teacher would work with me on what the best course would be for my child - that she may recommend just leaving him and not prolonging it, etc. You know, the typical, mainstream approach which I am not fond of. This tells me that they do not really understand where I am coming from. The fact is, though, that they are better than the others I have checked out. I think it is the best option and it is one of the few with an opening. Also, during that time I will have to leave my baby (who will be 1 at that time) with someone. I guess it is worth it though.
post #5 of 10
That's a bummer.

We have a few of those "co-ops" around here. The one we went to was two days a week for 3s and a parent needed to be there once a week (and could be there more often and they encouraged all parents to come for fieldtrips). It meant there was one adult for every two kids PLUS the teacher which was nice.

I'm sorry it's not going as well as you hoped.

I would suggest you ask the teacher for the class roster now. Then, contact the other parents and suggest starting to meet over the summer at parks, the pool, each other's houses, etc... once a week (heck, even once a month) to get to know each other. I am sure there will be at least one other parent who is having the same concerns and that most of the people would be happy to get to know each other first.

Good luck!
post #6 of 10
I re-read your post and noticed the mention of the one year old.

I would DEFINATELY get in contact w/the other parents asap. You can set up a baby care co-op of sorts, get all the kids introduced (and used to the other parents), etc...

Is there any class your DS would be interested in taking by himself (gymnastics, swimming, drama, etc...)? You could start w/that and see how it works.

He is still young enough to be constantly changing though... 6 months is really a very long time and the difference between 4 & 4.5 can be astronomical!
post #7 of 10
It's possible that talking with him about school will increase his anxieties. Obviously, you'll need to talk about it to some extent but if there are ways you can prepare him without actually talking about it, that might be helpful. My ds is the same in declaring that he doesn't want to go anyplace w/o me, so I'm facing a similar thing looking at starting preK in the fall. I happen to think my ds will be fine once he starts. With him I suspect it's more of a preference for my company, than an anxiety. But with him, I know it's important not to talk too much in advance because it gives him time to develop concerns. You might consider not talking about it at all for a few months but try to prepare him in ways like taking a fun class. It would be great if he could get to know future classmates, meet the teacher in advance, and visit the school. But go easy on the "here's your new school" type comments. With my ds, I tried to keep it at the "we're just visiting for fun" level. He's never been left with any one but dh or my Mom, either. Good luck!
post #8 of 10
Have you tried visiting the preschool?

DS has been saying he doesn't want to go to preschool until he is 6 (he always picks the age DD is because she can do *anything* so he will be able to by *that* age to, lol).

We took him to look at our co-op yesterday and he was like, "Hey, I want to go there."

"You realize DD won't be there?"
"And Daddy & I will only be there sometime?"
"Yup, but my friend will be there."

post #9 of 10
Oh boy do I know what you mean!! My ds turned 4 3/1/01 and we're in the same boat. He's always been my constant companion. We don't have a co-op within 50 miles of us! I can't bear the thought of his screaming and crying when I leave. And then I wonder, like Tiredx2 was saying, do you just wait until they're ready and homeschool in the meantime? After all they won't be little and clingy forever. I am so darned confused about what is truly in his best interest!! : I pray very hard and regularly for help knowing what's best for him.

I think Tiredx2's suggestion of getting the class roster and trying to foster early friendships is GREAT and maybe you can take him to the school a few times over the summer. IF we get in I think I'll try that. But right now I'm leaning towards giving it a try in the fall and if he can't handle it, wait another year, do losts of activities (Gymboree, swimming, soccer etc.) and keep working on the social skills and just go for Kindergarten.

Good luck. Let us know what you decide.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone

Here is our very small update....

We have narrowed it down to two preschools. The co-op and another one just up the street. Both are totally mainstream. DH went to visit the one up the street because I was home sick with my baby. He was totally sold on it. All of a sudden he bought into this whole prepare them for the world BS I met the director last year so I remember her sales pitch. Next week DH and I (DH wants to be involved in picking now) will visit the co-op. There is also a Montessori that isn't too far and not too expensive. I never liked the M focus on academics so early and their obsession with independence but maybe worth checking out anyway. So many decisions. I think I worry too much that whatever decision we make could have permanent consequences and if it we send him and it's awful, he could be traumatized for life. This mothering gig is tough, yk?

Thanks, mamas
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