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My dd is 3 years old and enrolled in a summer program at a Montessori school. It's M-F for 3 hours for 4 weeks. She cries every day before going to school. Her first language is English and this program is Mandarin (we just moved to another country), which makes adjustment harder. She does understand Mandarin though, as she was in a bilingual English/Mandarin toddler program for a year. It's only been a week, and the teacher says she is fine once I leave.

Kindergarten starts at 3 years old here, and she's going to attend full-day Montessori school that starts next month. It will be Mandarin immersion. I'm a little worried about the transition period.

Previously she was in a Montessori toddler program from 18 months onwards, and while she seemed to enjoy it, she did cry a lot in the mornings. Even if she didn't cry she wouldn't want to go to school.

I'm not sure what to make of this. I would have liked to homeschool, but homeschooling is not legal in my country. Technically, schooling is only required from 6 years old onwards, however, the competition for schools is fierce and it's not easy to get into a good school without attending kindergarten. I'm uneasy about this competition at such a young age but I don't know what else to do. My daughter seemed to thrive in her Montessori classroom before so I'm hoping to continue as long as possible. After age 6 there is only one accredited Montessori school in this city and thus has a long waiting list. There are no other alternative forms of schooling.

Besides this, we live in the city. My apartment is small, there is limited play areas and playmates (most kids go to school!), so I think school would be more enriching for her than staying at a home watching videos all day, which is what she would probably do if I let her.

Is it normal that kids cry when adjusting to school? Is there anything I can do to help her transition?
 

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I'm sorry that you are going through this, but I think that a week is a very short period of time. Its not enough time to know if she will adjust, and I think it is completely normal for a child to cry when adjusting to preschool.

How long do you plan to live in China?

It really sounds like in your situation, you have made the best choices. In the long run, it will be a blessing for her. She will grow up bilingual in 2 important languages, and while right now it might seem to you like there are lots of people who speak both, its really a tiny number world wide.

When my kids were small, we lived in Quebec and I could have put them into a French or bilingual preschool, but I didn't. The reasons I didn't were for all the same reasons that this is tough for you right now. We are back in the states and they are teens, and I regret it now. I don't have a lot of regrets as a parent, but that is one of them. They are struggling through introductory language classes like most American teens.

I think that one of the things you can do to help, which will be hard, is to act and try to feel confident that this is the right thing and is really a good thing. Kids pick up on how we feel, and when our kids are anxious, we can feed off of that that, and then they feed off of us, and it's a bit of a mess. If we force ourselves out of that sympathy with their anxiety, we can help them find their own confidence.
 

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Absolutely normal. My son had been in daycare since 8 weeks, and he still cried at drop off for a couple weeks when we switched schools at 2.5. Two different friends, 1 last school year & one just a couple months ago started their 3 year olds in new school & daycare. Both of their children took weeks to adjust.

It really is heart wrenching isn't it? Hang in there!
 

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Fabulous advice from Linda as always :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think that one of the things you can do to help, which will be hard, is to act and try to feel confident that this is the right thing and is really a good thing. Kids pick up on how we feel, and when our kids are anxious, we can feed off of that that, and then they feed off of us, and it's a bit of a mess. If we force ourselves out of that sympathy with their anxiety, we can help them find their own confidence.
Linda on the move, thank you for sharing your experience and for this piece of advice.

We would probably be here for quite awhile, and because my Chinese level is elementary, I thought it better to have Chinese instruction at school, while dd speaks English at home.
 

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Before you know it, she'll be fluent and helping you with Chinese. She is very fortunate to have this experience.
 
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