Each one of us, except a few find it difficult to make their kids adjust to the school in the initial phases. My daughter went to play school only until I accompanied her and after that I could see that she has been crying a lot and I stopped sending her. Where as a neighboring girl six months elder to my daughter never had any problem from day one! At that time I felt the reason might be our language. We speak in Kannada at home and had moved to Hyderabad just one year back. But later I found that is not the reason for her discomfort. When I put her to Nursery in Bachpan a year later, she adjusted within a week and though she hesitated in the initial weeks, later she went without much problem. By the time she came to LKG, I put her in Laurus and she went for only two days and refused to go. Then I put her back in Bachpan and she started going happily from Day one, and the timings were 9 to 2pm. Few kids go happily from day one and few don’t, so what do we do about it.
Let me share you my experience, my effort in making her feel secure outside the home. First of all take your kids to your neighbor’s house, stay there for some time. I know it’s a boring exercise, but we need to do it. I have often seen parents asking kids to play by themselves and would not like to stay in neighbor’s house for more than ten minutes. So staying in an apartment was a blessing for me. To add to that we have kids of all age groups in our apartment. She would spend lot of time with her two friends who were of the same age. Initially I would always sit with her for 10 to 15 minutes while she is playing. Then I would come home for few minutes, would go back if she cried. Then I would stay with her for long next time. Like this it went on for few months. Later she started going to these friends house all by herself and would tell me not to accompany her. You just need to make them feel safe there by going with them every time or every day for half an hour or so. After few days they become familiar with everybody in the other house and feel safe. It also gives you an opportunity to understand your neighbor, and how good is their company for your kid. So by the age of 2 and ½ years my daughter was comfortably playing in her friend’s homes. Sraddha’s house, Saanvika’s house and sometimes charisma’s house. She also picked good amount of Telugu.
I liked Bachpan, Nizampet as it has qualified teachers who are fluent in English. Also the Director Sravanti is an Engineer by education. I liked the study material, and it was definitely better option than Lilliput. I joined her in Nursery, and I took her to the school for 2 -3 days before the school reopened. So that I could stay with her while she played in the play area. I made her feel comfortable in school. It was like a park or play house where her mother accompanied her, so she was happy to go. Also I got the uniform before the school actually started, made her wear the uniform and took her to school.
When the school actually began, the Director Sravanthi told us to keep our hearts strong and brave and to leave the kid even if he or she cries. And first week the school was only for half an hour! So first week all Nursery kids went for half an hour, though my daughter cried on first day, she didn’t cry the other days, because she thought it gets over so fast and it was fun! Next week the school was for three hours i.e. 9 to 12, but we brought her at 10.30 itself for one week. Later as she liked to come by Van with friends, we told her then you can come by Van. Coming by van meant staying till 12noon, which she did not realize.
She liked her class teacher very much. The class teacher was available to us over phone. So whenever she came home sad, I would call her and ask what happened, and she would explain. The class teacher Rama had very well understood the psychology of my child. I am sure she would have understood each child in the same way. My daughter enjoyed doing home work, as she felt it’s a matter of pride like other grown up kids. Now she too has got books and home work
The school took them on outings once or twice. All festivals they celebrate with lot of enthusiasm. Friendship day, blue day, I day, all festivals so and so forth. A dance teacher came to train them for the annual day function. My daughter’s song was ‘O My friend Ganesha’. She enjoyed that too. On the annual day we were supposed to send them at 8.30am, from school they would go to Auditorium, which was near hi Tech city. I was wondering whether she can manage. But to my astonishment she went happily, she was dressed up by her teachers, she did not cry on the stage.
Also at every point, I keep her informed what will happen. I will tell her, they will take you to auditorium from school; your teacher will dress you up. There will be lot of people in the auditorium. They will watch your dance and clap loudly if you dance well. So on and so forth.
She even went to wish the Governor of Andhrapradesh on Rakshabhandan with her school mates. That was again something which we doubted, but she surprised us by completing that assignment also without any crying or troubling teachers.
At the same time she could not adjust to Laurus School at all. I felt neither the teachers nor the ayahs were well trained to handle small kids.
To summarise I would tell that, it’s good to consult few parents and take their suggestion. Also every kid is different, depending on your kid’s upbringing you have to mentally prepare them for school. Never tell a kid that ‘if you don’t eat I will send you to school’ or never make statements like ‘teacher will beat you’.
Since they start walking and speaking, make them feel school is a good experience. Make them long for school. Whenever they tell I want to go to school, tell them you are too young, you should eat properly then we will send you to school. So that the child feels it’s something which it should earn, like he earns a chocolate for doing good things.
Don’t put them in school for three hours from day one. Convince the teachers and principal and leave them only for half an hour. If possible go with the kid to the school on non working days of school and spend some time there. Bring them back even when they want to play more. Put them in day care for only half an hour or one hour. Stay with them for first week, and then leave them for half an hour. For most of the kids it should be a gradual process. Don’t ask them to wear the uniform on day one, sometimes they don’t want to wear uniform because that means going to school. In that case forget about uniform, put the color dress and tell them you will just go enquire something at school. Talk about other kids coming to school. Tell them there will be birthday parties in school. If you attend school you will get more friends, you can attend more parties. I have put lot of effort to make my daughter feel comfortable at other’s houses, and school. One of my neighbor often tells me ‘hats off to you Bindu’.