As we welcome everyone to the start of the 2017 school year, May seems like a long time ago. So much has happened since then, and many of you wonder what goes on in the preschool during the summer, and why the office staff continues to work. While there are ongoing operations that must be attended to, there are also things that happen specifically in the summer for the benefit of the program. Believe it or not the preschool board meets in a planning session, where they comb through the parent surveys, read comments and suggestions, and prioritize those things we want to improve or change. The sign in and out sheets at the toddler doors are one of the suggestions by the parents that was implemented in addition to the Facebook pages that the teachers are using and the walkie-talkie carpool system. The Ways and Means Committee of the board meets to brainstorm fundraising plans for the next school year. Teachers have time for additional training. We work on the facilities, and evaluate ongoing equipment needs so we start each school year ready with the things we need to provide the best programs for the children. Our summer has been all about getting ready for YOU.
We know that you, too, prepare your children for the start of a school year. For returning children, while the school is the same, the teacher and classmates are different. For new children, it is just all strange. You have purchased the new back packs, planned yummy snacks, and had discussions about what to expect. But, no matter how prepared we are, once school begins, it still takes a little while for all of us to feel comfortable and settled into the rhythm of the school year. We especially want our children to feel good, and to help that through these first weeks, there are some things we can give them.
The most important thing we can give is consistency, and consistency for children means routines, both at home and in school. They love them. They thrive on them. They count on them. They need a going to bed routine and getting ready for school routine. They need a good-bye routine that is special to them, and that is the same every time they are dropped off at school. They need their teachers to have a consistent class routine so they know what their morning will be like. They need a going home routine that includes being picked up on time, a big hug and kiss, and some talk about their morning activities.
Children also need the adults in their lives to have patience. They are adjusting to their new teachers, classmates, and routines, and we all need to give them time to do that. Once children begin to know and trust their teachers, they feel much more secure and comfortable. Some children naturally have more difficulty separating and take longer to feel secure in a new situation. If that is your child, give him a little piece of home to bring to school. For a little one, it may be a special lovey. For an older one, it may be something you pick out together – a family picture, a small memento, a favorite book – anything that gives comfort. A piece of home, your support, and a little time will help in their transitioning from home to school.
I know that all our preparation for this year will get us off to a good start, and it feels great to be back together again as a preschool family. As we begin the 47th St. James Preschool year, I want to thank you for all the support you give your children, the teachers, each other, and me. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome and helpful. I look forward to a year where we will continue to work together to keep our program dynamic for our children.