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Any advice on transitioning to preschool?

332 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  Evan&Anna's_Mom
My DD will be 3 in October - she is starting preschool in 1 week at a Montessori. She has been with an in home sitter since 3 months old, whom she loves. My sitter is retiring this summer, so we started her in preschool.

She visited once last week during day care hours and I am going to take her one morning this week to visit. We have bought a backpack and a lunch bag.

Things I am worried about - her missing her sitter, going to the bathroom by herself (she is potty trained but doesn't really wipe or go by herself, she wants someone with her), will she eat her lunch, nap time (she hates naps and wakes up crabby).

Last week she told me she can't swing by herself when we were talking about preschool. I told her not to worry and she said she will find a boy to push her. I said there will be little girls and little boys to play with (she knows NO girls, only boys) and she said she doesn't like girls and will find a boy to push her (again). She probably will, she is pretty bossy.

Any advice? TIA
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I've had one in preschool for 2 years now and am readying the other for a July 6 start.

First, realize that kids that "can't" or "won't" do things at home will frequently do them when surrounded by a group of peers and a teacher. My no-nap kid at home is the champion napper of his class. Clearing his plate to the counter is "too much work" at home but he cleans up his lunch area without a complaint, according to his teacher. It probably the last time I'll appreciate peer pressure, but in this setting its a godsend! Also realize that teachers, especially those that get the "just starting" kids are really, really used to these issues and have some great approaches.

I would start by meeting with the teacher (in person, on the phone, by email, whatever works for her) and ask how they handle these situations.

For your specific concerns, here's how is has worked for us.
* Missing sitter -- this happens, but not during the day because they are too busy. We continued to use sitter for other occassions. They also draw pictures and send cards sometimes to keep in touch. You might talk to your sitter about what would be OK with her.
* Potty. The kids never go potty by themselves at our schools -- it's a whole class trip on a very regular schedule. My DS potty-trained at preschool andt was great. Teachers couch wiping skills from the bathroom doorway. (Most schools have open doors/stalls to avoid there being anyplace a staff member could be with a child unseen. Most require teachers to stay outside of the stall but in visual range of a group of kids.) You will probably find messy underwear while she gets the hang of it.
* Lunch. Talk to the school about this one. Our school encourages them to eat their "main" item first, then anything else that was packed that they want. If it doesn't get eaten it comes home so I can see what was and wasn't eaten. I think they play so hard they are really hungry. Teachers help with anything that kids can't open or whatever. I always pack one more thing than he is likely to eat so he has some choices, but I've had to tell teachers that I expect stuff to come home and I don't want him "encouraged" to eat any more than he choses too.
* Naps. There is something magic about group naps. The teachers say that the younger kids will always sleep because everyone else is and they are so tired from playing. Our school uses music to soothe to sleep and then to bring back awake gently. Different schools have different approaches to what is required of kids if they won't nap, wake early, or sleep long. I once went to pick up my son early and the entire class was awake but him. Kids were playing house around him and he was still asleep! If they don't nap, then they are required to read on their mats for a certain time (state law dictates they have to have so long a nap) and then there are quiet activities until the end of naptime. Our teachers rub backs to help soothe to sleep and have a set routine that seems to work at the end of naps.

Talk to the school to find out their routine and then share with your child. For about the week before school starts I will be talking about "now, at school they will do X" so she knows what to expect. I have also started doing occassional picnics with her lunchbox so she gets the hang of taking stuff out and opening packages. She's sleeping with her nap blanket and buddy now so they "smell" right when she has them at school.

Above all else, make sure that YOU believe she can do it and that YOU trust the teachers and the school. This will influence her more than anything else you can do.
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