For many moms the idea of driving up to a big scary elementary school and dropping off their child for kindergarten can be pretty frightening. And in preparing for kindergarten, getting your child ready for that moment of separation can be one of the most difficult things to do. That is why a great option for a lot of moms is not to completely separate from the child in their first weeks of kindergarten but to be an active parent and get involved volunteering at the school even in the summer before kindergarten gets underway.
Kindergarten teachers are notoriously under funded and often depend heavily on the help of parents both to get ready for the school year and during the year to serve as “classroom moms” to help out with children who need to go to the bathroom, who get sick or to coordinate activities in the classroom and during field trips. If you take the initiative toward the end of the school year before your little one goes to kindergarten and meet the teacher who will be your child’s first teacher in life, that teacher will love meeting you and your child too and getting a head start on making friends with her.
That one step alone is worth its weight in gold because by meeting the teacher that your child will have in kindergarten, she will have a friend and know that when she goes into that room, the person in charge is nice and is looking after her best interests. But don’t just let your meeting with the teacher go with just a meet and greet. If you let her know you want to do all you can to help her get ready for school and then be a classroom mommy during the school year, that will also be a big help and that teacher will happily take you up on the offer.
During that last month of summer as the first day of kindergarten approaches, that teacher will mobilize “the troops” to get ready for class. There will be a lot to do to get the room fixed up and decorated and to prepare all of the materials for the different games and lessons that will be taught in the first weeks and months of class.
By being a volunteer mom, that teacher can look to you to come down to the school and help with the preparation process. Moreover, you can take your kindergartner-to-be with you and she can help get the room ready too which will make her feel engaged and encourage a sense of ownership about what is about to happen in school. Your child can interact with the teacher and other adults or children who are there to help prepare for the year and that is a nice way to ease into the step of going to school officially when classes begin.
When classes start formally, you will already have a relationship with the teacher and you can be in class to be the eyes and ears and loving hands to help out with all the kids. You should be ready to be a mom to the whole classroom when you volunteer at your child’s school. But because you are in class off and on in those first few weeks especially, your youngster will have that sense of comfort and security seeing you around which will then naturally transfer a trust in authority to the teacher and the school.
As the year goes on, you can slowly reduce your classroom presence based on what the teacher needs. You can still volunteer in the library or to help out the school outside the classroom so your child still sees you on campus. But this is an excellent way to ease your child into the new setting providing that sense of security of having mom nearby but slowly getting used to the idea that kindergarten is a safe place, a fun place and a place where she can learn and excel even when mom isn’t around. And that is an exciting transition to watch your little one go through.