On The First Day of Preschool, Don't Forget To...

Eliza Clark
March 8, 2009

Can it be? Is my child really about to begin preschool? How did our babbling babies get to be kids who can tote backpacks across school doorsteps?

If the idea of your darling starting school today has left you feeling disoriented, like you're in a crazy time warp where infants morph into schoolchildren before your very eyes, we are right there with you. We get it. That's why we put this list together. So that in the midst of your disbelief and nostalgia and (let's not forget) glee at the prospect of at least three hours sans offspring, you wouldn't forget to...

1. Act as calm and cheerful and confident as you want your child to feel.

2. Use a sharpie to write your child's name on the label of her jacket or sweater.

3. Get some lovely personalized labels at Mabel's Labels for all of the other things your child is liable to misplace at school during the year.

4. Steel yourself for a tearful goodbye or no goodbye at all (some children don't even give their parents a backward glance!).

5. Meet some of the other parents -- soon enough you'll be calling them for playdates and planning class parties together.

6. Look the teachers in the eye and thank them in advance for all they'll be doing for your little one this year.

7. Listen to the teachers and respect their ground rules: if they say not to bring toys from home, don't; if they indicate that it's time for the parents to go, go! And so on. This helps your child learn that, in the classroom, the teachers are in charge.

8. Get there on the early side so that you have plenty of time to take in the scene and say goodbye.

9. Pack some "comfort food" (your child's favorite lunch) today.

10. Resist the impulse to bring your camera into the classroom -- neither the teachers nor the children need the distraction on their first day together. Instead, take a picture outside the school before you go in, or save the photo shoot for another day (there are plenty ahead!).

11. Be right on time for pick-up today. Don't give your child even a moment to wonder, where's my daddy or mommy?

12. Plan a special after-school treat for this first big day -- your little one deserves it (and so do you)!

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    Knowing your ABCs is very different from being able to identify letters and knowing what they are for. Stop singing that song and start reading to them!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 2

    hi

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 3

    hi

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 4

    My youngest son will be 3 in October. He is potty trained and we are will be starting in preschool this month even though they prefer them to be 3 when they start because he is potty trained and has some of the fundamentals down they are allowing him to be admitted. Preschools can range depending if it is a state offered program and you meet income restrictions it can be very cost effective. Or if you find a smaller preschool setting that offers a great curriculum without all of the bells and whistles of a private preschool are reasonably affordable (Which is what we selected. It’s not fancy, it’s a small school environment and many parents I talk to highly recommend it, the kids don't wear specialized uniforms, but they offer a great curriculum that follows closely with the school districts curriculum that we live in, the class sizes are small and the teachers have been there since the school was opened several years ago.) And there are the top of the echelon school that offer everything under the sun and some can be extremely costly because everything has its own fee i.e. Uniforms, Before/After School, Extra curricula activities, Basic school tuition, annual supply fee and other miscellaneous fees. (Went the private preschool route with my first son. It was very reasonable to most I found at the time and offered a great curriculum with veteran teachers of 10+.) Low end tuition price $200-300 a month (income restricted) $400-500 regular: Median is roughly $520-720: High side can be $750-1200 easy. (These are all just basic tuition amounts and depending on the city, state you reside in it can fluctuate one way or the other. These figures are for Houston, TX.) Talk with the health and human services department, look for Head Start or Early Start programs that operate in your state on low income family assistance and opportunities, some school districts offer Pre-K assistance especially if your child’s first language is not English and if you have a local 3-1-1 service it can provide assistance as well. This was a great article and I hope my comment helped some of the other commenter’s questions and future ones to come.

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 5

    my daughter is going to be turning 3-years old november 1st,2010. i would like to place her in preschool but is she the right age. she knows most of her abc's, her numbers 0-10, some colors and shapes. she knows her whole name and birthday and is not shy. she tells me she is ready to go to school. when she turns 3 will it be ok to put her in preschool

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 6

    my, son will be 3yrs on sept 4. he already knows 26 English letters and from 0 to 9 numbers. the main problems of my son is he didn't speak and understand english languages,because my native language is Amharic ,so we speak amharic completly. he can speak and understand amharic a little.he like children movies,I know my son get along well with other kids and he is very fast and active. I've decided to let him go to preschool that offers 3or 4 days aweek,5 hours per day.we are on a low income family.any ideas on how to get my son this opportunity.please give me any advice!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 7

    My son turns four in august, 3 days before his Pre-K class starts, he has never been in a school setting before and only in daycare for a short period when he was 2-3 yrs old. He is able to recite he ABC's, count to 15, knows all his shapes, colors, and what the numbers 1-15 actually look like. His pre-k teacher says he should know how to identify the actual letters of the alphabet and be able to write his own name..... so im kinda loosing sleep over it. We have been practicing every day for about a 30 min period. We have abc flash cards, ive bought activity books, i bought preschool education computer games, and ive got a cupboard full of craft stuff. Any ideas on how to get my son to recognize his letters and write his own name by august? any advice will help!

    over a year ago

  • Karen McKinney

    I'm a stay at home mom, and my son is about to turn four in March. I've decided to let him go to a preschool that offers 2 or 3 days per week, 4 hours per day. He knows his basics, abc's, numbers, shapes, etc, but he's ready to learn to play with other kids! He's so excited about going to school! The hardest part is going to be getting up early; he sleeps until 9:00 now, but I know we can do it!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 8

    MY SON WILL BE 4 THIS JANUARY. HE ALREADY KNOWS HIS ABC'S AND KNOWS HOW TO COUNT TO 30 WITH A LITTLE ASST IF NONE. HE KNOWS ALL HIS BASIC COLORS AND SHAPES. I KNOW MY SON GET ALONG WELL WITH OTHER KIDS BUT LIKES TO BE THE LEADER. I THINK THAT IS GREAT FOR SPORTS BUT I QUESTION IT AT OTHER TIMES. HE IS POTTY TRAINED ONLY NEED A LITTLE ASST TO GET TO THE TOP OF THE TOILET BUT HE KNOWS THE REST. I FEEL HE IS PRETTY BRITE FOR HIS AGE. HE HAS HAD ALL HIS SHOTS UNTIL HE IS 5 YEARS OLD. I AM AN ONLY PARENT. HIS FATHER IS IN HEAVEN. HE PASSED AWAY BECAUSE OF UNCUREABLE CANCER 12/12/07. WE ARE ON HIS DADS SOCIAL SECURITY ONLY. WE ARE ON A LIMITED INCOME SO I WAS WONDERING WHAT ARE THE FEES? TO TRY TO PREPARE MYSELF.

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 9

    i would like to know the details of a preschooler as my child is only 1 year old

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 10

    When does school start for Kalamazoo?

    over a year ago

  •  

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