It’s now been exactly one week since my four year old started in her Montessori Children’s House. Her first day went very well. There was a few nerves but once she arrived at the door to her new classroom, saw her teacher who greeted us, we said our goodbyes, she walked with her new teacher to put away her belongings and then walked into her classroom, she was absolutely fine. She stayed 1.5 hours her first day and was very excited when I picked her up as she had much to tell me about her new classroom. Amazingly the next day she asked to stay longer, so she happily stayed for the full three hour work period. She just slotted in straight away. Since then she has gone each weekday for the full three hours. I had half expected that tiredness would have kicked in at this point, but so far so good.
I was thinking that I was going to add to this post what I did whilst waiting for my four year old to finish her transition period (2 weeks) whilst caring for my two year old. What usually happens when a new child starts in the Children’s House, is they slowly build up to the three hour days over a two week period, but my four year old wanted to stay that long straight away. We only needed to wait in the ‘parents room’ once, on her first day. The parents room, is basically a room/space at her school for parents or caregivers to use. It is air conditioned and has a space to sit, there are some infant toddler toys and materials in there as well, which is great if you have another child with you. As we only ended up using the room once, the rest of the days she has gone to school, we have usually just driven back home. We don’t live that close to the school, so really there is not a huge amount of time that we have back at home before we head back to the school to pick her up, but we use that quiet time wisely. My aim is to not go out to much and really have that time with my toddler. We will go once a week to the school’s infant/toddler class. This past week whilst my four year old has been at school, my toddler has done lots of painting and playdough play and drawing, lots of outside play and he has been helping me out with odd jobs around the house.
I will admit feeling a bit strange this past week. I was feeling that loss of my eldest going to school. I really missed her and my 2 year old son missed her as well. It was a much quieter house when she wasn’t there. What also felt a bit strange, not just for my daughter being one of the new children in her classroom, but I was also a new parent, so I didn’t know any of the other parents of the children in her class. I had met the teachers but that was about it. I will say though that In the last couple of days I did actually go to an information day at the school and luckily did meet some of the parents. I guess these things just take time. We are all adjusting to a new normal.
So, what did I learn this past week as a new parent? For starters, label my child’s items properly. On the first day another child wore my daughter’s hat. I had labeled it, but the two children’s hats were so similar that I needed to add something more than just labeling it to my daughter’s hat to make it stand out, so I added a bright coloured ribbon which has been sewn on. The other thing I learnt pretty quickly was to keep drop offs and pick ups positive and short, makes the transition easier. Oh and don’t be late for drop offs or pick ups.
A few things that were recommended to me was to allow my daughter to carry her own school bag, oops. I wasn’t even thinking about what I was doing when I was carrying it. Allow my daughter to make her own snack in the mornings (fruit) and pack her own school bag, which allows her to make simple choices. All she needs to pack in her school bag at the moment is a hat and a spare change of clothes. She also needs to bring a water bottle. Sunscreen is provided in the classroom.
It’s funny that I was told not to expect too much when you ask your child at this age about their day as they live in the moment. They remember snippets of their day but are not likely about to tell you everything they did. My eldest did happen to tell me in her words some of what she got up to this past week and I wrote it down to remember. She didn’t know all the names of the materials but described them to me. I recognised what she was talking about as I have already covered the Sensorial and Practical Life materials subject through my Montessori studies. From what I have gathered she has done pouring and scooping activities, sweeping and raking leaves outside, watered plants, set the table, did some puzzles, worked on some of the dressing frames, she has worked with the knobbed cylinders, red rods, pink tower and brown stairs and did some easel painting outside. Most of what she is doing at the moment is in the Practical Life and Sensorial areas of the classroom. I believe they do circle time sometime in the morning using musical instruments and sing and dance. I would love to be a fly on the wall and see what goes on.
So I thought I would write this post in case there was those of you who were wondering how she went. I got some lovely well wishes on my Instagram account when I posted a photo of her on her first day. That really helped me get through emotionally that morning.
Guest Post Next Week: I will also let you know that there will be a guest post from the lovely Lucy from the blog Follow That Child in the next couple of weeks.