Thursday, September 16, 2010

Preparing my 'slow to warm up' toddler for Preschool: Part 3



We did it! Colin's first day of school could not have gone better! He was a champ and was not phased in the least by me leaving. All of our hard work paid off!
 Colin and I arrived at school about 20 minutes early so he could have some time to adjust to the classroom before other kids would be getting dropped off (and potentially be crying). One little boy in the 3yr old classroom was being dropped of as we arrived and he was a mess so Colin was very distracted and concerned about why he was so upset. Colin and I had discussed that other kids might be sad and that this was okay. So he kept telling me "he's sad" "he wants his mommy" (something the boy was saying over and over again) and I reassured him the best I could.  He quickly found some dress up clothes, including hats and choose a duck hat to wear around.


For the first 40 minutes we were there, Colin stuck close to me but rarely actually in physical contact with me. He was sitting at the table pictured above, when his teacher came over to say hello. The last time he met her (at the orientation) he buried his face in my shoulder and wouldn't look at her. Today he told her his name, and sat and continued playing while she sat at his little table and talked, mostly to me but interacting with him too. She remembered his reaction at orientation and we were both very encouraged by his progress. He would occasionally ask me to come with him somewhere but I encouraged him to go explore while I sat where I was.  Leo and Kip both arrived (both on their third day since they aren't on the same schedule as Colin) and their presence and easy reaction to the classroom really encouraged him and he started venturing further into the room.


It wasn't long before it was 'circle time' and all the kids went to sit on the carpet. It was around this time that most of the lingering parents left (it was just me and one other mom now) and Colin got a bit nervous and asked me to join him on the carpet, so I walked over with him but once he was settled moved back.  From circle time they moved onto playing with play dough and I was basically out of Colin's sight the entire time without him even noticing.  When they got up to wash hands for snack time he saw me again and wanted to tell me everything that was happening, and it was at this point that I realized my presence was hindering his progress not aiding it. When he came back to me after his hands were washed (while the other kids were still washing up) I told him at snack time I would leave. He basically said "okay" and then asked me to help him with yet another hat. The kids all sat and sang songs (well, the teacher sang the kids just listened mostly) while snack was prepared.


As soon as he sat for snack I told him I was leaving and asked him what would happen after that, he responded "Mommy will come back" and so I knew he understood. What a huge relief! I was able to walk out without tears or even a "don't go". My timing was perfect. I left and he still had 2 hours left of the day. Since he was doing so well I didn't return until just before pick up time. I wasn't sure how he would react if other parents showed up and I wasn't among them so I tried to be early. Another mom and I spied from outside of viewing range and Colin was happily kicking a small soccer ball with another little girl.
 
He ran over when he saw me and said "Mommy came back!" gave me a big hug and snuggled for a second and then went back to playing.  He did have a small altercation with another boy (I'm not sure what they were discussing but Colin was holding his hand, either away from the car Colin was currently driving or just to hold it I couldn't be sure) the other boy started to cry and then it wasn't long before Colin got upset too. I suspect he thought he was in trouble for making the other boy cry. I let him play for a little longer after he recovered so we could end on a positive note and then took him home for lunch.

All in all it was a VERY positive experience for both of us and Colin is ready to go back for more! 

n.b. I did not want to put up photos with unfamiliar children's faces clearly visible in them so I had to leave a few out I might have included otherwise. Not everyone has the same comfort zone with the internet so I wanted to err on the side of caution, rather than upset someone.

8 comments:

Erin said...

Yeah! I'm so proud of both of you guys!

Elaine and Brandon Carder said...

I teared up when he said "mommy came back" because now he is totally reassured that if you say you will come back, you will be there (not that I doubted you would). I am so glad he had such a great time. He looks SO tall in the first picture...he is growing too fast. How many days a week does he go to school? His friends go more days? Is that an option in the future? Just curious....

Becky said...

Colin's buddies go two days a week, but they are just a different two days than Colin's two days. Putting Colin in an extra day is definitely an option if he continues to love it as much as he did today. It isn't cheap by any means but it is a better value at 3 days a week than at 2.

Kristy said...

I love the hats! So cute. He looks like Sean in the first pic! So cute! Aunt Sisty is so proud!!!

JJ said...

GREAT job "Mom"..and you and I know full well how well "rip the band aid off approach" worked for you when your Father threw you in the pool! AND how it took "me" two summers to break your anxiety about going into the water again. You have to know your child...You win some..you lose some...and adapt. Love you all~ Love these pictures! xoxo

Julie said...

i am so happy for colin! i bet it is very rewarding to see him do so well on his first day!

now you will have to make another baby to keep you busy while colin is at school. haha

Crystal said...

I'm so glad to hear things went well, and I love the pics! Yay! :)

AbbeM said...

Yay! Glad his first day of preschool went so well!