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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can any of you offer words of wisdom on this? My son Luka, who will be 3 in<br>
November, just started preschool.<br>
There's been a phasing-in period so far, and I have<br>
been staying with him in the classroom. The school,<br>
though, asked me today to leave him next week and said I<br>
should expect tears, probably lots of them. I have<br>
never let Luka "cry it out" through anything, but feel<br>
very confused. They say I need to prepare him for the<br>
"real" world and teach him that it's OK to be without<br>
mommy, and that I am doing a good thing, that it will empower him in his life, etc. What are your<br>
thoughts on the subject from an attachment parenting perspective? How should I handle the separation? I<br>
would REALLY appreciate any words of wisdom you could<br>
offer. In advance, thank you!!
 

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Having been on both sides of this - as a teacher and now as a parent, I can say that if a school says to expect a lot of tears, I'd say no, I'm not leaving my child. As for toughening him up for the real world, that is an argument that is nonsense. At this age, he is not <b>supposed</b> to be tough or independent. Before <b>true independence</b> comes <b>dependence</b> . This is a fact that a lot of adults (especially Americans) totally miss.<br><br>
He is very, very young to be going to preschool without his mum. Does he really need to go? If the objective is simply to go because it's the 'done' thing, personally, I'd pull him out. Dd is almost three, and I'm not even considering preschool for another year. I get all sorts of comments about this, about how she might be 'behind', which makes me smile to myself, as she is way, way ahead developmentally of the children of these parents who are being sent to preschool to get 'ahead'.<br><br>
HTH
 

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I think that there's a lot of time for your child to find out about & get prepared for the "real" world. I think if he goes off to preschool or anything when he's ready, he'll feel more confident and self assured and be "ready for the real world". I think that for some children, being pushed away from their mom before they are ready, can actually do more harm than good. My oldest is 5 and is still not even close to being away from me in a school type setting. I know other kids that are ready earlier.....every child is different. I don't think it's appropriate to say that a certain age should dictate that all children are ready.<br><br>
I'm not sure if this is an optional activity or something you have to do.<br>
If it's optional, you could choose to wait until he seems more ready. Or you could find another preschool or other activity that allows parents to stay and participate as much as possible.<br>
If you have to be separated from him, I would find something that he would find comforting to take along with him and really be there as much as possible when you two are back together. I think it's reasonable to think he could become very clingy & want even more time & attention during this transition.<br>
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for replying so quickly and supporting me! I was starting to think I was being unreasonable/naive for thinking that tears could/should be avoided. It's good to hear words of support. Luka does not need to go to preschool, though I sense an intellectual readiness in him, as well as a desire to interact with more kids. He's definitely very "advanced" for his age, completely bilingual and very verbal, very interested in many things, etc. I think he's intellectually ready for school, for new challenges, more social interactions, etc. Sometimes I feel as if I am reaching the end of what I can offer him, that he needs new stimulations. I'm not sure he's emotionally ready to let me go, though. Today I sat in a corner and told him I was there if he needed me, but that school was for kids and so I couldn't play with him, and he was happy running around and doing his own thing, just came over for reassurance when something was upsetting him (mainly, crying children of parents who decided to "cold turkey" them into school!). We did apply to a school that had an open door policy but didn't get in (long waiting list). I guess I'll brew over this stuff this weekend, but I've already made up my mind that if I haven't let him cry through anything, now would not be a good time to start. Thanks for the support!
 

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I put my dd in preschool at the same age as your Luka. She was actually the only child they had had who didn't cry when starting out. I put her in preschool to get exposure to Russian. She was happy, doing well, eating everything they offered (Russian soups and the like). The she started to cry in the morning, begging to stay with me. She stopped crying as soon as I left. I know because I had a friend volunteering there.<br><br>
Well, I figured she was crying for a reason and took her out. It was a tough decision but so worth it to have her happy at home with me!<br><br>
I'm sure you'll make the right decision for you.
 

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When my brother was in preschool, he cried every single day, sometimes even when my mom was there. Once he got used to it with her there, he could handle it, but she had to be there. The other kids started to think that she was one of the teachers. Some days she would try to leave but he just really wasn't ready for it. I think he was 3 or 4. My mom ended up sticking out the year so he'd be around kids... but she was there every day.<br><br>
I wouldn't worry about keeping him in unless you need him to be for some reason (work, etc). There's not really anything he's going to learn there that you can't teach him at home.
 

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I'm not exactly in your place. But I can share my own little experience.<br><br>
my ds is 2 years 2 months and two weeks ago, I don't know what happened in me but there was something I saw with ds that told me that we needed to do 'something'. I can't explain it. I got it. And then I had a conversation with a mom at our music class and I saw how my ds really enjoyed playing with her daughter in a really significant way and we spoke and she said that her dd was in a pre-preschool/day care. Mind you, I never ever thought that Daycare would be something I would be interested in...but I decided to ask for the number and we checked it out the following week and again, I thought, "lets just check it out. just so we know about it."<br>
well, we walked in with ds and we stayed for 90 minutes and then we got up to go with ds who immediately threw a fit. He did NOT want to leave.<br>
'wow'. we thought. Frankly, I was so impressed with the little school that I wanted him in it. I had to give it a shot.<br><br>
So, this was his first week. They play and do art and do all kinds of little projects and sing songs and moms and dads come and interact with the kids all the time. The first two days he stayed from 9a-12:30p with either my husband or with me. Then he had his full day 9a-3p with a nap in the middle of the day yesterday. He was happy to see us when we picked him up but he was not hugely excited like, 'get me out of here'. MOre like "oh, good, I'm ready for you."<br>
Today it was similiar.<br><br>
Anyway, I noticed his words are coming out faster and more sentances and this is not a pre-school with education as a focus. More about art and play. He is saying 'please' more. And he seems more confident and he was already a confident child. I think something is happening here that is good.<br>
But we're watching and if we see anything that makess us question our choice we'll pull him out. But right now it seems like he is ready for this gentle atmosphere.<br><br>
Also, I have him on a list for a more pre-school preschool next year, but if he is not ready for that (has more academia) and all is well with this little place than I will keep him here for an additional year and think about the other school when he turns 4.<br><br>
I don't know if this at all helpful. but it is just our little experience. maybe you need something more gentle and then go for academia stuff later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The thing about staying in the classroom is that the school tells me that if they allowed it, parents would stay with their kids until 8th grade. Then they say that if I'M not ready for him to separate, he will feel it and cry even more (in other words, it's my fault if he cries, it's because I'm not ready to let him go). Have any of you stayed a while in the classroom with your kids and then had an easy separation later on? How did you know when they were ready to separate? Thank you for all your replies, it's so wonderful to feel a community of support out there on those issues.
 

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I am in somewhat of the same situation.....although we are not doing preschool, I am interested in getting DS into an activity that I am not present for. He is 3 years 3 months old - and has never not been with a family member - although he has been away from me for as long as 3 weeks on vacation with Grandma and Grandpa no problem!<br><br>
I signed him up last week for dance class (yes, he is the only boy) because I knew it was something he would like and is not something that we do at home (I somewhat 'homeschool' him as much as a preschooler needs to be taught LOL!) So we go there and he does NOT want to go in. We get into the dance room and he seems interesed so the teacher distracts him and then mouths to me that I should leave - so I did. Well, sure enough not even 5 minutes later he was in tears and looking for me, so I went in and got him. The teacher was trying very hard to get him to calm down and stay without me - she told him that I had gone to the bathroom and would be back later (not sure how I feel about that, I was right out side the door and prefer for him not be be lied to....anyway) I took him into the hall to calm down and he was adamate that he wanted to go home. Since we had to wait for DH to come and get us we stayed in the hall and talked. Soon the teacher came out and asked if he would like to come in and do some games.....he did not want to. IT was then that I asked/said that I would come in with him and she recultanty agreed. Well, he ended up LOVING the class. After we went in he was still upset a bit so I said he could just sit and watch, but then he wanted to get involved so he took off acrossed the class and midway he stopped and pointed at me and said "YOU stay there!" which I was happy to do.<br><br>
As much as I would like to be able to leave him for the 45 minute class and spend some one-on-one time with my 16 months old dd, he is obviously not ready. I will try again next week - but I am ABSOUTLY not going to push it. I was the only parent there - and I got the impression that parents were not really 'allowed' to stay so we will see how it goes......<br><br><br>
anyway, good luck!<br><br>
BTW DS is a very bright, articulate, curious, interesting child and I really see no 'need' for a structured 'pre-school' for him. Instead I am choosing to do things like library storytime and dance class to supplement our 'home learning enviromnet' and give him the opportunity to be with other kids. I like this because he is with different ages and is still with me (which he needs!) We also go to our LLL playgroup once a week and he will be in Sunday School starting this Sunday for an hour (Yes, I am the teacher <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> ) So if you are looking for more stimulation or peer interaction for your child, pre-school is not the only option. Look in your area at art ceters, music centers, nature center, museums, librarys......they all usually have some type of pre-school programs that are fun for the kids and will introduce them to a multitude of different things! We love doing this!
 

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just a note on the part about the child crying, im not sure why they said to expect a lot of tears? Personally, i work in a daycare and we are always welcoming parents to come and visit part of the day before the child starts coming, and i would never suggest that there will be a lot of tears because not all children cry at being left even on their first day... what we do suggest is easing into the schedule and leaving only for an hour the first day, then maybe try longer the second day, etc until the child is used to being there without the parent..<br><br>
that said, i have to admit it can be very hard to get a child to interact and have fun when the parent is present.. some children really do bond better with the teacher when the parent leaves. I still however dont like the ways that they are encouraging you to leave.... it sounds like they dont have a very sensitive feel for the parents side of things. We are always very sensitive to what the parent is going through as well as the child.<br><br>
I also have to say, it really is true (at least where i work) that children will cry and such until the parent leaves, and those children are some of the same children that have the most fun, and really enjoy their friends and the activities. I have seen it happen over and over, and then we have had a few that just dont seem to adjust, but i always let the parent know when the child is having a hard time.......<br><br>
good luck with your decision... my little guy goes to the daycare i work at 2 mornings a week and i work in a different room most of the time.... i know his teachers very well, he has a great time with his friends and sometimes he does fuss when i leave.. but i work there and see him having a wonderful time with his friends all day, so i know he is ok.
 

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I am in the same boat Nathalie! My bright, loquacious, playful, friendly 3 and a half-year old has never cried it out and is not in preschool because he is very anxious about separation. I have tried a couple of times at various places like MOPS, and the health club but it has been too difficult for both of us. If I were you, I would examine my motives for the preschool thing, is it because all of the other kids you know are going or you need some time to yourself, or you feel he may be left behind academically or you just can't seem to come up with enough activities to fill your day? Britishmum said it very well. Why do people push such young children to be independant? Who can take better care of them than their own mommie? I think attachment is a good thing. I do many activities to get us out of the house and to spark little bits of independance like mom's club, sea-life park, tiny tots parent-child playtime, story time at the library, gymboree arts class. They all involve my participation or I stay nearby to watch (swim lessons). I have noticed that when I try to push things before he is ready (potty training for ex.) it doesn't help but when he is ready, he is eager to do it himself. Personally, I think the schools that encourage crying it out and discourage parents from dropping in do so for the benefit of the adults working there, not the children. I signed up for a parent-participation preschool for next year when he is 4 and a half.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by Nathalie</i><br><b>They say I need to prepare him for the<br>
"real" world and teach him that it's OK to be without<br>
mommy, and that I am doing a good thing, that it will empower him in his life, etc. What are your<br>
thoughts on the subject from an attachment parenting perspective?</b></td>
</tr></table></div>
He's not even 3 yet, he's not supposed to be independent. Does he really have to go? If it were me I'd just keep him home if possible. They are only little for a short time, why force them to grow up too fast?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the thoughts everyone. How do you find a parent-participation preschool? The school we got into originally told us that they were VERY flexible about separation, that they worked with parents to make sure the separation happened at a pace that was comfortable to them, etc. But once you're in, they bring out the heavy artillery if you don't comply with the unspoken rules, ie no parents in the classroom. All this to say that some schools advertize themselves as being child-friendly but they really aren't!<br>
Also, for those of you who decided not to do preschool, did your kids have problems adjusting later on (when they started school with full or near-full days after no school at all, etc) when they did start school?
 

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I just wanted to update the thread.<br><br>
ds was in the preschool/day care for two weeks. It is a beautiful place. It really is lovely. But, I have decided to take him out.<br><br>
I just "got" something in me that I could not shake. And I know enough that moms have to follow their guts.<br><br>
I decided he was too young. I know that he cried a bit more the second week when we dropped him off and when he woke from his nap. And then with time he got over it. But I just was not comfortable with this. At this age. I think I will feel more comfortable, maybe when he is three. But for now, we happen to both be home and it is silly for ds not to be with us. And if we both get jobs next week fine..we'll figure that out.<br><br>
It was a very emotional two weeks. for all of us.
 

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Nathalie<br><br>
If there is a preschool in LA like the one I found then there HAS to be one in Mill Valley or SF or the East Bay.<br><br>
At the preschool where dd will attend next year, I could be there all day every day if I wanted until she's ready to go to high school!!<br><br>
They really expect parents to be there actually if the kid needs it - until further notice.<br><br>
I think the group experience is so key for kids - if they are upset the parent is leaving then they should be able to have the group experience with the parent there if they need it.<br><br>
Go to playmountainplace.org and you can email them to ask about simlar schools in your area. They are serious about educating children with an attachement perspective and know who else does ths kind of thing.
 

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As a former pre-school teacher, I say, "this school sucks!" (trying to say it's your fault if your child cries, as if that is an unusual response from a 3 year old). My advice would be to take him out, unless there is some good reason to have him in.<br><br>
But, this comes from the perspective of someone who has no intention of sending any of my kids to preschool, and only half day kindergarten. I always hate the idea that "all the other kids in kindergarten will know how to line up, and they will cry the whole day in kindergarten, blah, blah, blah" I taught kindergarten, and by 2 weeks into it you couldn't tell the difference between the kids who had been to preschool and those who hadn't. I cried my whole kindergarten year, and my kids will not be put through that, they will be gentled into schooling, when they are ready, just like how we have chosen to do everything else so far.<br><br>
Continue on listening to your instincts and knowing what is best for YOUR child, and gentling him through different stages of life.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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See, this irks me!!!! THis is exactly the kind of attitude that makes American parents put their children in their own beds, in their own rooms, at birth!!!!!! It's what leads to bottle proppign and stroller rides, etc. Okay, ::climbs off her soapbox:: so I really think that this preschool is being harsh. They really seem mainstream in their ideas of independence and leaving and expecting tears. I spent 3 weeks ALL DAY LONG, everyday, with my daughter last October before putting her into a home daycare with 5 other children(one of whom was her best friend and the sitter's daughter). The daycare was across the street from our house(you can see my front door from the window) and dd has known the sitter and her now 3 year old daughter since birth. These little girls have played together since they were big enough to sit up. But yet I spent 3 weeks going every single day and staying all day long with my daughter to get her used to the routine. I am happy to say that she has been going there since then and has not cried ONCE at drop off. She is excited each morning to wake up and know that she is going to Miss Amy's house. She loves the kids, she loves the atmosphere, and she loves knowing that she's big enough to go. She is okay without mommy. That is her home away from home. So if I spent 3 weeks at a home daycare where my daughter knew the sitter and one of the kids and it was across the street from our house, just think how long I would accompany my daughter to a strange preschool!!! I would be one of the teachers!!!! Personally I chose NOT to put my daughter in school this year(she turned 3 in July) nor will I send her next year at age 4. I just really think that she wouldn't do well. She is okay with getting her own sippy cup from the fridge and going to the bathroom and washing her hands without help and mostly for getting dressed if I lay out the clothing, but independent???? NO! Hardly that. Children go to preschool nto to learn independence but to get socialization and to fill up their days. Most parents put their older child in preschool 2 days or 3 days a week in order to be able to spend more time with a younger child. I would personally tell the teacher to stuff it and you will accompany your child for as long as it takes for both of you to feel comfortable with the situation. Remind yourself daily. You are paying for this and it is YOUR decision. If they really push for you to leave, pull your child out. it's not worth tears!<br>
Meg(just my humble opinion, do with it what you will)<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hippie.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hippie">
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm feeling so much support from this wonderful Mothering community! I basically told the school that their "plan" would not work with us, and that I was planning to stay with my son IN SCHOOL for as long as he needs me. To their credit, they agreed, albeit reluctantly. And so that's what I've been doing, and, I'm happy to report, with growing success. In the beginning my son wouldn't leave my side, but he is now interacting with other kids, and even forming a bond with the teachers (let her negociate a conflict with another child without running to me last time!). He comes to me less and less and is now talking fondly about his teachers, what he does in school, etc. And I've only been there 5 days! It absolutely does NOT seem worth it to go through the tears! When I think about how hard some of those kids left by their parents cry (I've been in the class, so I've witnessed it), it seems so useless... thanks for all the support!
 

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I'm so glad you decided to stay with Luka and ease that transition for him despite what his teachers were saying. As long as you and Luka feel good about it, who cares what everyone else thinks????? Great job mommy!<br>
Meg<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hippie.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hippie">
 

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ITA!<br><br>
That is so great that you went with your gut and stuck with it your way. Sounds like he's doing great. Good for you not leaving your boy there crying, maybe the teachers will learn something from this<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 
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