Tomorrow is a big day. Tomorrow, Waleed starts a Reggio Emilia based program Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-1. Not sure what to term it, nursery school? daycare? playgroup? Its described as a preschool [though he’s only 2? Isn’t everything before school pre school?] but whatever the semantics, he’s starting tomorrow.
And I am terrified.
I’ve had mixed feelings about it since we agreed to do it. About a year ago I checked out a number of preschools and when I saw the activities I thought to myself but I already do all of this with him. From water tables, and drawing, reading stories, building blocks, and make-believe opportunities, Waleed got every opportunity through me that the centers purported to provide. There was only one thing I could not give him, friendships. So I redoubled my efforts to find him friends. We joined Gymboree. I hosted playdates. We went to the library for storytime. Hung out at the local parks. And yet despite all of this, consistent playdates [other than with his best friend Z who also has a new little sibling making our get togethers difficult these days] proved elusive. As someone who began their first day of school in kindergarten, I personally don’t believe preschool is necessary. I’m a former educator, I provide tons of opportunities for him to grow intellectually, morally, and creatively, but a toddler to play with, I cannot be and Waleed as an incredibly social child needs interaction with other kids on a consistent basis [well, not ‘needs’ like he needs air and water, but highly desirable given his extroverted nature]
Enter preschool. With a new baby, K thought the few hours of one kid to corral a few days a week might be a good thing for me, and the preschool, being practically a stone’s throw from K’s work allows him to drop off and pick up without any assistance from me. We like the school. The student-teacher ratio. The philosophy. And Waleed? When we took the tour, he ran around the center like a kid let loose in a candy store. So with K’s
prodding encouragement I agreed to give one short semester a try.
But now that it’s here, I’m anxious. Apart from when Musa was born, and his subsequent hospital stays, where Waleed was watched after by my family who he knows well and adores, he’s never been away from me. And while his teacher did a home-visit to introduce herself, I know the transition will be rough. With a newborn who we’re trying not to take out of the house given the horrible flu season, I’m not accompanying Waleed to his first day away. K will be. He’s promised to take his time and walk around with Waleed as they explore the center again. He promised to stick around to ease the transition, but at the end of the day tomorrow [and perhaps days? weeks?] will involve tears. It will involve anxiety. It will make him cry and while I know that ultimately this is probably a good experience for him, one we’re doing because we think he will ultimately enjoy it, the rough transition that is to come is already breaking my heart.
Can you relate? Anyone put their child in preschool and have advice, perspective on the matter? Any tips to ease the transition? How long did it take for your child to adapt? Anyone ever have a child who simply never adapted? Any advice, tips, or perspective much appreciated.