Transition plans for very new students? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 09-14-2010, 05:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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1. What is the spectrum of ways in which Montessori schools help new students adjust to the school experience?

2. Why does DD's school recommend that ALL students (no matter how young, or their personalities) be dropped off in the car line from day one?

DD is 2.75 yo. She has been at home with me the entire time. The longest she's been away from DH and me has been 3 hours, and she's always in the care of a relative or one of two friends. She is a shy and clingy child. She had huge separation issues even with those people last spring.

Why *wouldn't* I want to ease her into the school experience? I think it will take her time to adjust, but that she'll enjoy it a lot when she does. Isn't Montessori about meeting the child where they are?

I feel so foolish for not asking more about this during my one observation visit.

ETA: Maybe she's too young? She's the youngest in her class. All the kids started the same day. Several are also new.
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#2 of 8 Old 09-14-2010, 10:10 AM
 
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Did they have an open house where you get to spend time with her in her classroom? She is pretty young. In my area she would probably still be in a toddler class. As a teacher I have to say that I usually feel like it is often easier to transition when the child doesn't expect you to be in the classroom with them, hence dropping them off from the car, but some children do seem to need it.

In my son's current school there was no open house. He went the first day with my husband for an hour and the next day he stayed the whole time by himself. However, they said one of us could have gone with him the second day as well. He seems to have transitioned pretty well.
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#3 of 8 Old 09-14-2010, 10:11 AM
 
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Did they have an open house where you get to spend time with her in her classroom? She is pretty young. In my area she would probably still be in a toddler class. As a teacher I have to say that I usually feel like it is often easier to transition when the child doesn't expect you to be in the classroom with them, hence dropping them off from the car, but some children do seem to need it.

In my son's current school there was no open house. He went the first day with my husband for an hour and the next day he stayed the whole time by himself. However, they said one of us could have gone with him the second day as well. He seems to have transitioned pretty well.
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#4 of 8 Old 09-14-2010, 11:57 PM
 
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I was a little shocked that DD's school started the carline on the first day, but in retrospect I think it was for the best. If I had gone in, she would have burst into tears when I tried to leave. She was so shocked at being ushered into the school that everything apparently went fine. (And yes, I told her I wasn't coming in. But, um, not until that morning. It wasn't something I wanted hanging over her head and worrying her).

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#5 of 8 Old 09-15-2010, 12:02 AM
 
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Oh, and the way our school did transition was that last Thursday, 4 of the 8 new kids started, and they went for an hour and 15 minutes. On Friday, all 8 of the new kids started, again for an hour and 15 minutes. Today, the whole class (including the 2 older years) was there. The older kids are there for the whole 3 hours/full day (the kindergarteners stay for lunch and afternoon), and the 8 new kids have to be "invited" to spend the full 3 hours based on whether they're ready. Otherwise, they'll continue to go the 1 hour 15 minutes while they get used to things. DD was invited to stay the full 3 hours today, and I don't know how many other kids were too. I suspect it was most, if not all, of them.

Here she'd squeak into the regular preschool, and not necessarily a toddler program. My state says you have to be 2 years 9 months.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#6 of 8 Old 09-15-2010, 12:07 AM
 
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At our school, the 3 and 4 yo's can't be dropped off via the car-line (though, you can pick them up that way, I just choose not to b/c it takes too long). We do have to say goodbye at the gate - which leads to the small playground where they meet before school starts. They prefer it so there are not a ton of adults roaming the halls (this is an elementary school), and so the separation process goes smoothly. I know when we have been late and I had to take DS inside to his classroom, it's harder for him to say goodbye and he wants to show me his cubby, work, etc. The more drawn out the drop-off is, the tougher it tends to be on both parent and child - especially at the beginning of the year. The one time I carried DS (age 3) to the gate - b/c I was trying to hurry and not miss the class going inside - he cried and had to be held by a teacher. When I don't baby him, and simply hold his hand - he's done fine at drop-off.

Every school is different as far as the transition into school. Where I used to work, it was very gradual. 30 minutes to an hour one day; an hour or so the next; and so on, until the child was comfortable with staying the entire time. This was a full-day program for 0-3 children, though, so I think that was why it was ideal to do it this way. Our school now simply has it where the 5 yo's start right away, and the 3 and 4 yo's start two weeks later - but parents still leave them right away, instead of linger in the classroom.

OP, did your DD start yet? How did she do?

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#7 of 8 Old 09-23-2010, 12:08 PM
 
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I'm having trouble with this drop off thing too. Daughter just started school a week ago and she hates the drop off. She tells me several times throughout the 30 minute car ride that she doesn't want to go, she doesn't like her teacher, she just wants to go to her grandmother's house. (She was staying with her before school every day and was not doing well, out of boredom, so I know that's not a real solution). Then we get there and she refuses to leave the car. She crawled up to the front seat and bawled and they finally said I had to drive to the parking lot because I was holding up the line.

My problem is not so much that she's having a hard time transitioning- that would be hard for any kid who's been at home or in someone's home for 4.5 years- it's that the teachers are so business like. They don't show any compassion whatever. They are just, "Ok, it's time to get out of the car now. School is starting. You don't want to be late." I don't see them hug her or talk about how she's feeling or anything. And one of them actually said to me, while I was sitting in the driver's seat with my child clinging to my neck screaming, that "She will be fine if you just let her go." I was letting her go! She was clinging to me!

I was also disappointed that there is no option for those particularly clingly children who might need a week or two of walking in. I told her this morning when I was moving the car to the parking lot that I'd walk her to the door. I was getting her to calm down, telling her that if I walked her to the door there wouldn't be any crying, we would do this together, etc... and she was almost calm and then the freaking teacher came out and tried to grab her out of the car. All calm went out the window. She was pulling her away and I'm just not comfortable with that. How very frightening it all seemed and I was rendered powerless. "Let's go, school's starting, they're locking the doors!"

Why are they so frantic to get the child in on the dot, why isn't there time for them to get their bearings at all? I just feel like she's being stripped of any dignity and control she could have over her own body when they're grabbing at her, and security in me or her teachers, which is invaluable. It could really make or break her school experience.

If I could afford to stay at home with her I would, but she pretty much HAS to be at school.
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#8 of 8 Old 09-27-2010, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone, this thread was really helpful. I met with the director to talk about my annoyance with the transition plan...specifically, that there should be Transition Plan A for most kids (the car line), Transition Plan B for some kids (walking kids in, saying goodbye on the playground), and Transition Plan C for the really shy kids (walking them to the playground and then walking them into class and staying for an hour).

I also met with DD's teacher and mentioned the same thing. My kid has special needs and my big worry was that if they didn't listen to me about what my kid needs for transition (which will last only a couple weeks), will they listen to me about her hearing loss (which will always be an issue)?

BTW, I walk her onto the playground and I stayed in class the first day. Now the assistant holds her hand (carried her, at first) while they line up to go inside. I walk to the playground to get DD at the end of the morning. Eventually we'll be able to do the car line, but not for a few weeks.

And that line about "It's harder for them than it is for you," is not true for all kids. Sometimes it *is* harder for the kid. Sheesh.
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