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My dh and I are considering a Montessori school for our dd when she turns 18months. She's a high needs child and I'm a little worried about the transition from being with dad at home to being in school. How have others dealt with this? Is there anything that we can start doing now to ease the transition?
 

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See if you can spend time with her at the school before leaving her there by herself. At a minimum, tour the school with her, introduce her teacher, etc. well ahead of time. But once the day comes, my advice is to rip the bandaid off fast - say goodbye and go. Expect an adjustment period. My kids are pretty sensitive in that regard, and even at 3 y.o. it took a few weeks for them to stop crying after I dropped them off. 18 months is quite young, but there's no telling what will happen - you never know, she may surprise you <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I hope so. But if it's very tough, just know that you're not alone - good luck!!
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br><br>
When my DD started she was 3y3m old and she is HIGHLY sensitive. We also had an extremely horrible experience at a play based preschool where she was being physically hurt. So "school" was "bad" to her. It was just awful. It took her a month or two to adjust, but she was also only going 1 half day to start (that's all they had available). Both DP and I went with her on her first day, stayed in the classroom with her for about 90 minutes, waited in the lobby for 90 minutes, and she was obviously nervous, but ok. I still usually spend about 10 minutes every morning with her, but it's mostly because I'm obsessed with Montessori. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> She walks in, takes off her shoes, sits down for breakfast, and could care less if I'm there or not.<br><br>
There will definitely be a transition period and it will be rough, but it will be ok as long as there are loving and nurturing teachers. We also talked up school MONTHS before she went, drove her by it a few times, and talked a TON about her new teacher. We are so fortunate to have an incredible group of teachers that always show her (and her siblings that don't even attend the school yet!) a lot of attention and are extremely nurturing.<br><br>
Hang in there. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2">
 

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I was curious about that too. The information on montessori is fascinating and evokes the image of children calmly walking into the classroom and sitting down to do math problems or something. I love that image, I would love to get there.<br><br>
My concern is about social-emotional development.<br><br>
What do they do when a toddler comes in completely distressed? How do they handle meltdowns? Is potty-training beforehand a necessity?<br><br>
DS is high-needs and has some social anxiety and separation anxiety. Of course this would have to be addressed not only at a Montessori school, but at any preschool, but I was curious how they handle these issues and if it might still be a good fit for him?
 

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My DD was about 22 months when she started a toddler program (just last month). Prior to that, she had been spending the day with her aunt, so it wasn't like she was going to daycare. It was more like she had three parents instead of two, LOL. Anyway, the first day at her new "school" was easy - she was so excited to see all the neat stuff to play with. She had a blast. The second day wasn't so easy. She was exhausted (my kids spend 10 hours a day in Montessori plus before and after care), so she cried when she first got there. LIttle ones really do adjust better if you don't linger. When you are lingering, they have anxiety about when you are going to leave. Once you are gone, that anxiety is gone, and then all they have to do is figure out how to deal with the situation. But they can't get to that point until you are gone. While you are there, they are in limbo because they know you are going to leave eventually. YDD didn't stay unhappy for more than a few minutes before she was off again. The third day was the same way, but since then, she has been happy to go.<br><br>
The teachers at our school are not too distant - they do physically engage the children if they need it (holding hands, hugs, sitting on laps), which is comforting to the girls. They also do "special" things for the girls if they are having a not-great day. One day last week, ODD came home with pretty braids in her hair - one of the teachers wanted to do something special for her because DD was feeling tired. During one of my visits, one of the toddlers was having a meltdown (the classroom was busy that day), and the teacher held her on her lap for a few minutes to help her calm down and then helped her get a book and snuggle into a cozy chair in their reading corner. The school my ODD went to last year was not quite as warm in this respect, but still did things like greeting hands. I understand why some schools might discourage physical contact, but I really love the warmth at our new school.<br><br>
As for potty training, my YDD didn't have to be potty trained to start. I think they put her on the potty several times a day, though, because she is always asking to sit on the potty these days (didn't really before school started). Not that she ever <i>puts</i> anything <i>into</i> the potty, LOL.<br><br>
I think the secret to success in Montessori is finding a director you love.<br><br>
JME . . .
 
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