If you are considering nursery school for your young child, you will find ample information letting you know how to tell if your child is ready for day care and how to prepare your child for the transition. Unfortunately, you will find much less information about how to transition from being a primary, full time care giver to dropping your child off at a nursery school every day. As your child begins nursery school, you will feel a variety of emotions, ranging from pride at their development to fear and guilt over their new independence. However, there are several ways that the Montessori method can help you feel good about the new adjustment in your child's schedule.
Continuity Between Home and School
Most Montessori classrooms are set up to mimic a home environment. This includes comfortable furniture, toys that are within your child's reach, and access to a kitchen for preparing snacks and getting drinks. This environment not only helps your child build life skills, but it also makes your child feel more comfortable from their first day of attendance. When you see your child in a warm, environment similar to your home, you may feel more comfortable leaving them for the day.
If you are concerned about your child adjusting to their classroom, you may want to set up a Montessori classroom at home, with Montessori tasks and materials, to help them get ready a few months before they start school. This may make both of you feel more confident about the separation.
A Method That Respects Your Child
The Montessori method is considered a child-led educational style. This means that each child is treated as an individual that learns based on their own skills and interests. Because of this, you may feel more comfortable leaving your child at nursery school, knowing that they will not be pressured or shamed as they learn new skills from their own exploration and their peers.
Teachers You Can Trust
Montessori teachers usually have at least one year of graduate study for each of the age groups they teach. Additionally, they usually go through Montessori teacher training and accreditation, which teaches them methods for overseeing a large classroom while providing ample one-on-one assistance to each child in the class. Most Montessori teachers are enthusiastic about the methods they are using and pursue continuing education courses throughout their career.
Having teachers and teaching assistants that you trust will allow you peace of mind, knowing that your child is being looked after and encouraged when you are not there to take care of them.
Developments You Can See and Feel
Because the Montessori method concentrates on life skills during nursery school, you will quickly be able to see changes in your child's behavior at home. You may find your child is more independent, able to put away their own toys, pour their own juice, and interested in dressing themselves. They may also exhibit increased social skills. These growths in independence may help ease the pain of your separation as you see concrete benefits for your child.
Flexibility and Child-led Integration
Because the Montessori method follows child-led learning activities, it is easy for your child to join a classroom at any age and any time of year. Furthermore, your child can usually start with a half-day program, 2-3 days a week, and increase their time at nursery school as they feel more comfortable. Easing your child into full-time nursery care may be less stressful for both of you.
While it is important to make sure your child is ready for nursery school before you enroll them, it is also important that you make sure you are psychologically ready to be separated from your child. You need to be prepared to provide important emotional support to your child during their first weeks and months of school. A Montessori school may be the best option to help you be comfortable with this change.