Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to have a sit down with your child’s soon to be preschool teacher, go over in detail how their classroom runs and things to expect and understand prior to your child starting? Teachers would love to go over all expectations, terminology, do’s and don’ts, and even hiccups that may occur. There just never seems to be enough time, things get missed, we fall off topic and we just hope that as the year passes we get in the loop.
As a preschool teacher, we know what to expect. We welcome new nervous family’s year after year, but even as seasoned pros, we understand that dropping your child off for their first day of preschool is a huge milestone filled with excitement, accompanied by nerves and probably a few tears. As much as we want to inform you, we want to assure you and comfort you more. We want to make this milestone a successful one!
With that said, I have done my best to provide tips and helpful information that preschool teachers want you to know.
Your Child Might Have a Hard Time Dropping Off
Teachers have a set of tricks to smoothly recover from hard goodbyes and for the most part, your child will be happily playing within 10 minutes of your dramatic exit. As hard as it may seem in the moment, stick to your agreed upon goodbye routine, give them a hug, kiss and say goodbye and leave (please say goodbye, leaving without saying it can give your child a sense of uncertainty).
The Best Time to Talk
Drop off and pick up can be stressful times to talk. Not only are we keeping a watchful eye on other children in the classroom, but we’re also attempting to smoothly transition children in or out of the classroom. Diving into a concern or lengthy conversation can be difficult for us, while also putting the safety of other children in jeopardy.
Give the teacher a notice that you would like to have a private conversation with them. With a time scheduled most teachers will be happy to discuss concerns or problem-solve, and we will appreciate the opportunity to give you our undivided attention in a safe environment.
Sometimes Children Are Mean (Yours Included)
Getting news that your child has been pushed on the playground, or that your child did the pushing, is shocking for a parent. What is important to understand is that children have yet to learn to appropriately communicate or express their emotions. Always take time to get the facts before you label the offending child as “the bad kid.” Help children learn by giving them tools to communicate and express themselves successfully. However, if you ever feel concerned about your child’s safety, meet with a teacher immediately to discuss the situation in depth.
Preschool is a place for children to explore, climb, run and play. Don’t be surprised when accidents occur. Even the most attentive teacher can’t watch every child every minute of the day, and occasionally your child will trip and scrape a knee or get bumped. Teachers will take good care of them, and an incident or accident report will be written so that you will have all the details.
Develop a Trust with Your Teacher
I see your child through the eyes of the teacher, as part of a group, and I’m not just thinking of them now but also in elementary school. I want to make sure that if your child needs a little extra help, they get it sooner than later. It’s not a big deal if they do need a little help; many kids get services like speech or occupational therapy. We do not label kids, it’s hard for us to have these kinds of conversations but know we just want the best for your child.
Also, tell us if your child is unhappy; it won’t hurt our feelings. Schedule time to talk it out. We both want your child to be happy and love learning. And, hey, if your child has been enjoying school, tell us that too: we could all use an ego boost!
Dress to Play
Our job is to keep children happy and inspired, which often involves getting messy. Having paint or dirt on clothes is evidence of learning! Another thing to keep in mind is that preschoolers often wait till the last minute to use the restroom, and when the pressure is on, belts and extra buttons can cause accidents, so please dress appropriately.
Understand Other Children as You Do Your Own
When other children have some behavioral problems, contain the smug disapproval. As a parent, you know that all kids go through difficult phases, and families sometimes experience stress that is out of their control. Besides, your child isn’t perfect, either. No one’s is. If the other kid is aggressive, have faith that we will keep your child safe, and know that I am doing everything I can to make things better. Please don’t tell your child to bite or fight back
If Your Child is Sick
If your child throws up after breakfast, chances are it’s not a one-time event. Same goes for diarrhea and fevers. If your child has a fever don’t give them Tylenol and send them to school (as soon as their nap is over the fever is back and whatever they were fighting has now spread to the class). Keep them home until they are without symptoms for 24 hours. Please and thank you! With that said, kids get sick, more so in environments that are well played in by other children. We do know this and we are very diligent about keeping our classroom clean and sanitized as much as possible. We understand the frustration with having a sick child and having to miss work. We need to work, too, and don’t want to miss days because we are sick as well.
Please Put Down the Phone
It’s hard for your child to share the excitement of their day with you if you’re on the phone, and unfortunately these joyous greetings won’t last.
Lice Can Happen
Lice has a season and spreads quickly, and we know this so don’t be embarrassed. Just let us know so we can prevent an outbreak.
Play and Learning go Hand in Hand
Children practice and reinforce their learning in multiple areas during play. It gives them a place and a time for learning that cannot be achieved through completing a worksheet. For example, in playing restaurant, children write and draw menus, set prices, take orders, and make payments. Play provides rich learning opportunities and leads to success and self-esteem. Play and Learning are not separate, they are intertwined.