About Mommy Center

About Mommy Center

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Off To School!

To start with, let me thank Vijaya and Pallavi for putting up posts on Mommy Center. That gave me enough inspiration to do this post which has been long over-due.

In Jan 2010 my little one turned two years old, we were thinking of putting him in playschool. I know two is a really tender age....but still, we began seeing the need for him to have more social exposure. Not because he was any sort of an introvert or self-contained, but simply for him to develop inter-personal and communication skills. I know, I know.. these are awefully heavy words to be thrusted on the shoulders of a two year old...but, let's face it - It is a Big Bad World - And we, for one, have to give our kids all their ammunition as soon as they can learn to deal with it!

So before I start sounding like we have to train a warrior , let me jump straight to the point. There are several things that change when you put your child into school - of any sort. Starting from emotional and physical needs to financial and time related issues that get involved the moment you enrol your child. I've tried to put together some consice guidline as to what you might expect and how to prepare for your child, as he/she enters this new world!

You might need to do a bit of groud-work before you zero in on a particular school for your child. This becomes easy when you talk to people who have kids the same age. Do so! And, of course you have the internet to assist you with all the other information you need. Once you have a list of preffered schools based on all the logistical aspects (Distance, How you would commute, Who drops baby etc.), look into the other things like
- The school being recognized by an Educational Board/Government
- What all timings/sessions they have for children belonging to age group that of your child
- Do they require the child to be potty trained. If not, do they assist with  the same
- Food and snack requirements
- What kind of activities they do for various age groups
- Teacher-Child ratio
- Cleanliness/Hygiene

Visit the zeroed-in schools with your child. If they allow you to take a tour, do just that. See how the teachers are interacting with the kids and how they greet you and your child when you go visiting. If possible, spend a couple of minutes with the concerened prospective teacher to get more information and a feeler of the class in-progress.

What we did
Distance was a big contraint for us, because I had to not just drop S but also my hubby every morning. So we found 3 schools that were close by and then filtered them down based on distance, timings and price. He now attends school from 8:30am to 11:30am. Sad part is he gets no snack in this (long!) time-frame. But, he has got used to it (because he is now having fun at school), so its fine. It also eases all the fights I used to have at lunch time. He gets so hungry that he eats without a fuss!

Once you have decided on a school to enrol your child, take him with you each time you visit the school to drop off papers/forms. This will familiarize your child with the school and its surroundings. Keep talking to him about school frequently throughout the day and about all the fun things they do there. You could even introduce him to some other older kids around your neighbor-hood who go to school and ask them to talk to your baby about all the friends he will soon be getting.

What we did
I spoke to S about school for about a month or more before we got him enrolled. That helped to a large extent. Also, since he saw all the toys and other kids he knew that school was not a torture arena. I have nephews here who attend middle and high school. I asked them to talk to him and that I guess worked too, because he got first hand experiences, albeit made-up *wink*

Now that you've cajoled your little one into going to a new place where Momma dear would not be around to watch his tantrums - get shopping! Again, involve your child in this, too and tell him that all this is for him when he goes to school. Stash up on all the things you think your child will need. Clothes, diapers, pull-ups, wipes, sippy-cups/glasses, snacks, a nice bag - and yes, CLOTHES! (My laundry has begun growing exponentially ever since S started school).

What we did
In S's school, each child is provided with a cubby (short for cupboard, I'm guessing!) to keep his bag of things. Apart from pull-ups and wipes (since he is in the process of being potty trained) I keep two sets of extra clothing. Check about what your play-school requires you to keep and do so accordingly.

Yes. Yes. Yes! You heard me. Get ready to have germs and viruses entre your house-hold without notice. How? Oh from school! Did you forget already? One child catches a cold and its passed on and on and on. But do not fret. This is the only way your child will get his immunity to the thousands of cold, cough and flu causing viruses there are. So, make sure you have all medication handy at home. Although I recommend that you use it only if the ailment is too severe. Keep checking expiry dates on all of them, for these germy fellas do not know to knock the door - They just barge right in!

Most importantly - You might want to check on all the immunizations/vaccinations that your child has received and update the records. Schools like to have a record of this.

What we did
S's school required us to give all his medical information and a permission from the doctor that he was ready to attend school. The rest, the germs took care off!

And its not all about having your child mentally ready for school - Before you are cerain about putting you child to school, make sure YOU are ready for the big change. Are you okay with having another person deal with your toddler? Are there any concerns in your mind? If so, make sure you talk it all out first with your partner and then with the school authorities. Leaving your child in his/her classroom the first day and walking out as he/she is screaming out for you is no joke. So make up your mind about being stern with yourself.

Putting your trust in your little one's teachers and school authorities is the first and fore-most important thing to do. Talk to them everyday just so that you know your child is safe and you can rest assured! The first few days are hard for both you and your child. But there has been no child (or parent) who has been in this period forever! So cheer up!

What we did
On S's first day at play school, I just did as adviced by some good friends - I dropped him and waved good-bye and drove back home. Of course, the moment I got out of the car and started walking towards our house my knees felt like jelly. My mind went wary as I opened the door, and it hit me just how lonely I was without him around. Yet, I consoled myself (and talking to a couple friends who had been thru this in the recent past helped) and time just flew by.

Also, the longer you hover around your child in the class, he is going to expect the same each and every day - Thus, making peeling him off to independance a far worse task than you thought. And, who is the culprit? You! So just leave. The teachers are trained to take care of kids. They know better!

It does not end with the first day. In fact, it does not even begin on that day. Why? Simply because your child (if he is like S and is a people loving) will not realize that this is going to be a daily affair. It is only the second day onwards that your child gets to know about this and wails out louder than you have ever heard him. But, stay strong. He'll be fine. Make sure you are, first!

What we did
Of course, S got really clingy for about two weeks after we first started him at play-school. If we were grocery shopping and I left him with his Dad to fetch something from the neighboring aisle, he would go bonkers and run for me. I did upset me and I was left wondering if he'd ever get over this insercurity. But he did. And boy, the process of them settling into school is weird. So is their behaviour. I still remember on his third day, he cried, oh yes! But, he cried, got off my arms and went towards his teacher!! Then on, there's been no stopping. (or crying!) :)

In conclusion, here's a little note to all those Mom's planning on putting your toddlers into school for a couple hours each day. Do not be under the impression that your day will be so much more relaxed with your child away. It gets a tad bit hectic in the mornings, with you pacing around trying to get food into your child's tummy so he wont starve his day off at school. But, it is all worth it when they're off and you put up your feet, even if its for five minutes, after the crazy morning before you get back to your own life.

Then, before you realize it its time to pick up your little one and time flies by. And just as I end this post, I sit back to read up the new curriculum they handed me at school. S just graduated from play-school (where he spent 4 months) to prep-school. I should've done this post four months back... but oh well!!

1 comment:

  1. wow..good to know what's coming our way next Deepti! thanks for the useful pointers too :)



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