Transition to Kindergarten - how long? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 09-12-2013, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is very sensitive with big emotions. He just started Kindergarten and cries every morning before going. The first week was rough. It was a two hour gradual entry, but one of the days he clung to me and the teacher pulled him away while he was throwing a fit. It was heartbreaking for me and him!

I'm not sure what to do. Should I keep sending him and keep the goodbyes quick like the teacher says? Should I ask if I can bring him home at lunch so it is a shorter day for him? They go from 8:30-2:30. We considered private school just because of the half day K option, but DS wanted to the local school where his friends are going.

I know this probably sounds silly, I just want to make sure I'm not harming him in some way. I loved school and was excited to go, as was my DH. DS is 4, and only went to preschool part time for a few hours a week, so he is still getting used to the length of Kindergarten.

How do you know what is best for your child? Signs they are doing ok or might need some changes?

Thank you!

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#2 of 18 Old 09-12-2013, 02:03 PM
 
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I need a little clarification - Is this a public school? Children start kindergarten at 4? When will he be 5? In my state we have a public school pre-k option that is for 4 year olds and you have to be 5 to start kindergarten. The hours for pre-k and k, in my district, are they same as the rest of the elementary school, 7:45am-2:15pm. If you choose to send your child to public school for pre-k or k in my state they have to stay the whole day. There is no option to go home at lunch time. Is this different where you live?

 

I would be concerned if the anxiety continued for more than a few weeks. It could be a sign of many things - the school isn't a right fit, DS isn't mature enough yet for this environment, DS has an anxiety disorder (my oldest DS has an anxiety disorder and needs special supports for school).


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#3 of 18 Old 09-12-2013, 03:19 PM
 
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Where I live 2/3 of the kindergarteners start at 4. Cutoff is December 31. I assume mi_amore is in a jurisdiction with similar cutoffs. 

 

I don't have any easy answers: I chose to homeschool my kids to avoid that issue. One thing that I think is helpful is to get a feel for not just the transition time but what he's like an hour or two after he's been dropped off. What is he like just before you arrive to pick him up? Has he settled in? Is he having fun?

 

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#4 of 18 Old 09-12-2013, 05:09 PM
 
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a month usually. some take 2 to 3 months.

 

in retrospect full day K is sooo much better than half day K. full day they have time to do fun things. half day focuses more on academics.

 

the key is how is he after you leave? his reaction then will speak volumes.

 

can you volunteer in his class?

 

our next neighborhood school invited the parents to join the kids for lunch. 

 

sometimes its personality clashes. dd's friend asked to be moved to another teachers class which thankfully they were able to comply. 

 

and how do you know? no idea. no clue whatsoever. in retrospect the answer is very clear but during the time it seems horrible. 

 

my advice is do the best you can with the options open to you. sometimes the best answer may not even be a choice for you. 


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#5 of 18 Old 09-12-2013, 05:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
 

Where I live 2/3 of the kindergarteners start at 4. Cutoff is December 31. I assume mi_amore is in a jurisdiction with similar cutoffs. 

 

I don't have any easy answers: I chose to homeschool my kids to avoid that issue. One thing that I think is helpful is to get a feel for not just the transition time but what he's like an hour or two after he's been dropped off. What is he like just before you arrive to pick him up? Has he settled in? Is he having fun?

 

Miranda

Our cut off date is Sept 1st so I think it must be quite different. Just trying to get the full picture in my head.


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#6 of 18 Old 09-12-2013, 06:42 PM
 
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(((Hugs))). That sounds so tough for you both. 

 

Has the teacher said how long it takes for him to stop crying and settle in with some friends after you leave? 

 

Do you have an idea of how they are trying to comfort him during that time?

 

Is there a window or other place you can observe without him being aware that you are still there, so that you can see for yourself how he does after you go? 

 

In the thread about preschool and crying at transition times, there is a suggestion to develop a transition ritual to help with the separation. There's a picture book that might be helpful to demonstrate such a ritual - The Kissing Hand Book by Audrey Penn.  

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#7 of 18 Old 09-12-2013, 09:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, to clarify, DS will be turning 5 at the end of this month. And the cutoff for school is Dec 31st. Kindergarten used to be a half day program here in BC, Canada, but last year it changed to full day.

Thank you for the all the questions to ask the teachers. I will talk with them tomorrow and see how DS is doing.

When we first met with the teacher, I mentioned the separation anxiety and she made a special effort to help DS on the first few days. She mentioned he stops crying a few minutes after I leave.

There is a window where I can see in the classroom. He gestures for me to come back, but after I blow him a kiss he leaves without crying. He just seems mopey, but maybe that is normal?

Anxiety disorders run in the family, so I guess I'm just being cautious. I will definitely ask the teachers what he is like during the day and how he seems to be adjusting now.

Thank you so much for your replies!

Ollyoxenfree - thank you for the book recommendation, we'll check it out. smile.gif

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#8 of 18 Old 09-16-2013, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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When I drop off DS, he seems like a zombie. His face is blank and he doesn't talk to the teacher or say goodbye. The teacher is very friendly, but DS seems shut down. I'm going early today to observe and take DS home for lunch.

He mentioned his pencil broke and there were no more pencils to use, and he wasn't able to sharpen his pencil to complete his work so he just sat there. He also mentioned the teacher asks easy questions, like if they know what a pig and zebra are. Then DS said he had to stay in at recess because he was crying and criers aren't allowed outside to play. I'm wondering if that is a tale? I will be emailing the teacher this evening to get her opinion on DS.

I was also considering looking at another school to see if that might be a better fit? It is French Immersion, and they do a lot of singing and movement, there is a piano in the classroom, and he know three friends from preschool who attend there.

Thank you again for your opinions. DH thinks DS just needs to suck it up and get over it, but DS is emotional and is still crying every morning before school.

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#9 of 18 Old 09-16-2013, 12:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mi_amor View Post

When I drop off DS, he seems like a zombie. His face is blank and he doesn't talk to the teacher or say goodbye. The teacher is very friendly, but DS seems shut down. I'm going early today to observe and take DS home for lunch.

He mentioned his pencil broke and there were no more pencils to use, and he wasn't able to sharpen his pencil to complete his work so he just sat there. He also mentioned the teacher asks easy questions, like if they know what a pig and zebra are. Then DS said he had to stay in at recess because he was crying and criers aren't allowed outside to play. I'm wondering if that is a tale? I will be emailing the teacher this evening to get her opinion on DS.

I was also considering looking at another school to see if that might be a better fit? It is French Immersion, and they do a lot of singing and movement, there is a piano in the classroom, and he know three friends from preschool who attend there.

Thank you again for your opinions. DH thinks DS just needs to suck it up and get over it, but DS is emotional and is still crying every morning before school.

 

I would research another school, but just hang in there a bit.

 
the part that is a red flag for me here is that he was kept in because he cried. check with that and see if its true. if it is gosh then i would not want my child going to that school. i wouldnt mind if they were kept in during recess to finish homework or other reason. keeping them in during recess is very common in schools and can be handled well with an understanding teacher. but kept in for crying - oh i would be so mad. 
 
your son sounds very much like my dd. when anxiety kicks in they shut down and they are present but dont hear. 
 
also sometimes if they already know stuff the teacher is asking they 'check out' and dont hear subsequent stuff.
 
the pencil thing does not sound right to me. i am imagining the teacher told them the procedure of what to do when you need another pencil but he didnt really 'hear' it. 

 

on teh other hand IF you are looking at French immersion i would change NOW. every time he is not there he is getting behind - unless of course he already knows french. then you have time. 

 

all the concerns you raise in your post wont be any different in the French Immersion school. my dd has always had a hard time separating from me - esp. in a new place. that is why i volunteered in her school. i also told her (in K and first) that i would be running errands around the school, so if she needed me to come get her if it became too much i would do that. she NEEDED that knowledge. of course i didnt hang around school - but she needed that reassurance. i knew she would be fine. she never called me and after a month she told me i didnt need to hang around school.

 

she has a hard time separating (actually even today for middle school) after a holiday. it mostly stems from being at a new place that is not familiar right now. the only way i know to help her is to throw her in with the lion. of course in middle school she doesnt want me there, but she wakes up not wanting to go to school. and when she is in that sort of place i usually do something that morning to take that anxiety out of her. so getting out of home early and spending sometime at a coffee shop or a bagel place has aways helped her anxiety right from preschool times. i've only done this because i know - i always KNEW intuitively - that dd would be ok. she just has to go thru this phase right now. 

 

in K and first grade it was HUGE for dd that i was in there for a few hours once or twice a week for her anxiety. initially. after that she was just proud that the kids and i got along and that the kids looked forward to seeing me there. 


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#10 of 18 Old 09-16-2013, 09:55 PM
 
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My 1st grader is having a really rough transition this year as well. :HugWe have previously weathered other rough transitions with her and my oldest child, neither one transition well! 

 

My suggestions: Talk about what drop off will look like before hand, and then stick to it. Short and sweet is best. I walk DD2 to her classroom, wait for her to put her stuff away, we do one hug and one kiss and then I leave. She asks for me to stay and I remind her that one hug is what we do now and after school we can hug again or something like that. DD2 likes to have something to look forward to. So on the drive to school we talk about after school plans. Sometimes DH and I will go to school and sit with her for lunch. Sometimes I do pull her out a little early. All things to keep her going each day. She likes to know how many more days of school that week, so we count them down every day. 

 

Not all schools are the best fit for every child. We are in the wait and see if this school will work for DD2 as well. She was nonverbal for the first 3 weeks of school. Depressed on her days off, just not her self. She is gradually improving so we shall see. 


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#11 of 18 Old 09-17-2013, 10:48 AM
 
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My son is now in kindergarten but in a private program that is actually a homeschooling program.

 

We too suffered from such issues when he did a Pre-K program at a daycare center. It was so bad that we pulled him out and put him into this program. We've come to realize that our little guy needs a little more one-on-one time. the best thing is figuring out what works for your child, and sometimes that requires moving them to a differnt school. Hang in there!


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#12 of 18 Old 09-19-2013, 08:34 AM
 
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My daughter is a social, outgoing child and she is struggling with kindergarten. Full day is just too long for her. I dont feel right ignoring her feelings. She says she misses home, and its just too long. She cries at bedtime. She cant sleep well because she is dreading the long day ahead of her. She is only 5. She has 12 years of full time school ahead of her. I think that I want her to go half days, and I hope the school will let me drop her off later or pick her up early. I just wish there was an option for half day where I live.


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#13 of 18 Old 09-19-2013, 10:56 AM
 
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You've gotten a lot of good advice. Here are a few more thoughts that might help.... when DS was in kindergarten he was helped greatly by having a small stuffed animal from home to hold. When he was doing seatwork it sat at his desk and "watched" him, and had to stay at his table during lunch, specials, and recess. Having that little thing from home really did seem to help his comfort level, however. There was one boy who cried for most of the day for the first couple weeks. After that he was fine. He brought two large stuffed animals and a blanket from home, and was allowed to have one thing at a time at the table with him. He eventually stopped bringing them. DS brought an animal friend all year long, but he was fine not bringing one in first grade. 

 

I don't know if your DS has a similar comfort object, but if he does, you might consider asking if he can bring it. Kindergarten teachers tend to be pretty understanding about such things.


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#14 of 18 Old 09-19-2013, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the support and great advice! DS has been doing better, and is no longer crying in the morning. The teacher is super nice and is flexible. She said it was ok to bring DS home at lunch for the day. And she also uggested letting him stay to eat with friends before going home, or bringing him home and then bringing him back to school for the afternoon gradually if that worked for him.

KentuckyMom - a comfort object is a great suggestion. DS has a special rock he keeps in his pocket and rubs it when he's feeling overwhelmed.

MountainMamaGC- sorry about your DD. I hope your teacher is flexible. Perhaps you could mention you'd like to bring your DD home for the day for the next few weeks/months while she gets used to school. I told my son's teacher that via email because I found it easier to state our needs. My son's teacher was very accommodating. I don't think Kindergarten is required by law either (at least it isn't in BC), so I think you will have some flexibility. smile.gif

Thank you everyone smile.gif

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#15 of 18 Old 09-22-2013, 09:24 PM
 
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I would talk with a counselor or therapist if I were you, for the simple fact that you're saying anxiety runs in the family.  Pulling him away from you, when he is already an anxious child in the middle of a fit can make his anxiety even worse, even if he doesn't continue to show it.  

 

For myself, although I never even showed my anxiety until I got really burned out several years after kindergarten, I was anxious every single day of every single grade, in the first few hours of school.  After awhile I got burnt out, like I said and mental health issues sprung up.

 

In retrospect, I barely slept either after starting Kindergarten, was always tired and now I realize it was because of that anxiety about the next school day that I couldn't sleep.  I think this is why a lot of people drop out in high school.  

 

Not that this will happen to your child at all, but I think he needs a much better way to transition or take another approach to his school day.  Shouldn't you be able to talk with the teachers and principals to stay in class with him for a little while longer(perhaps to volunteer) or eat lunch with him or take him home early?  Why shouldn't you be able to do what works best for your family?

 

Also, some of you might have a virtual school you can enroll your child in that will allow you to also have your child in the brick-and-mortar school when it works best for your child, for specific classes and activities, etc. 

 

I hope you find something that works. 

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#16 of 18 Old 09-30-2013, 11:52 AM
 
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My dd is in half day parochial kindergarten and it works wonderfully. The only downfall is that half her class is full day so she gets jealous a bit. Nice considered switching her but she still takes long naps, she just turned 5, and I don't believe she's ready not do I believe it's necessary to switch her. Kids at her school do switch all the time though. If she's still jealous after Christmas, we'll probably consider switching her.

Amanda

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#17 of 18 Old 10-02-2013, 09:54 PM
 
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So now that I have read all the posts and gripping the side of my couch........ How is your son doing now??????
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#18 of 18 Old 10-03-2013, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Lol traceyamber!

DS has been doing well this past week; although, today he was gettting teary at drop off. He says he is enjoying school, and the Vice Principal mentioned his true personality is starting to shine through (she helps in the class)..

We are still keeping an eye on things and will discuss how DS is doing at Parent Teacher Interviews next week. smile.gif

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