The first day of any new adventure offer both highs and lows, successes and challenges, and the first day of kindergarten is no different. Even with thorough planning, preparation, and rehearsal, there is no telling how the day will unfold. However, you can mitigate the degree of uncertainty by working together with your child and their new teacher at their Montessori school to learn and review a few basic things you and your child can expect.
Some new logistics to iron out
For most families, the move to kindergarten means a new schedule and a new routine. For some families, this includes navigating a new school too. All of these changes involve a fresh set of morning, afternoon, and evening logistics. Getting your child to and from school, coordinating additional childcare if needed, and prepping school supplies and maybe their first sack lunch are just a few of the logistical elements of your child’s first day of school - not to mention all the new routines they’ll be learning in the classroom itself! It is normal and should be expected to experience a few kinks on the first run through, and anticipating that not everything will go according to plan is a simple way to steepen your family’s learning curve. This process-oriented mindset helps the whole family to create Plan B’s, problem solve, and develop resilience in the face of adversity - something every child experiences from time to time on their journey through their schooling.
Both you and your child will likely experience mixed emotions on the first day, and a little anxiety is natural. Anxiety, however, can also become an emotion that overwhelms all the others, but if it is something you and your child can anticipate; it is something that can be overcome with a little preparation. One way to facilitate this is to talk with your child about any fears they may have about the first day, with a focus on listening and validating those feelings. After you have worked together to name the emotions, you can then talk about how they want to cope with them. You can talk about ways they’ve dealt with anxiety in past situations (like the first sleepover at grandmas, or when they jumped in the pool for the first time) and create a coping strategy for when they feel anxious at school. Allowing children to take responsibility for their education is part of the Montessori method and for a child, recognizing and naming a strong emotion and having a plan in place for how to move through it can shift some of the power of it into their own hands, and is an important part of cultivating emotional intelligence, something they’ll need long after their first day.
Montessori Children's House in Fremont, California is here to help your child get through the stress of the first day of school and everyday thereafter. Using the Montessori method, we allow students to work at their own pace and guide them along their learning journey. To learn more, contact us today.