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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Peter's first day at preschool

So today was Peter's first official day at preschool. For those of you who don't remember, or don't live close enough to me to hear me talk about this *all the time*, Pete has pretty severe separation anxiety. But I found a wonderful co-operative preschool that I am really pleased with, and the director and teachers there are keen to make the whole situation work.

It is mandatory the parent stays for the entire first day (which is the morning only for Pete). I don't know if this is a good thing or not, but they want you to be familiar with the whole process so when it's your day to volunteer (which is often), you are aware of how everything works, and you know where everything is.

It was OK. I was a little disappointed, but I know I have very high expectations. Last week on the way to the school's "open house" day, he cried the entire drive there in the van. Cried on the way in and for a bit while we were there - then stopped and played with everything eventually.

Today he did not cry beforehand OR in the van at all. The first 30 minutes are outside playing. He cried a bit outside b/c he was "cold". I went into the school building to get his socks to warm his feet - he totally lost it and started screaming, and I was only gone for two seconds. Eventually he warmed up a bit, played with some toys but was very shy and not sociable with the other kids.

We went inside and then it was time to pick a book or toy to look at for a few minutes. He was okay there, but when we had to change rooms to go for circle time, he got upset again, cried and wanted to take the book he had with him. The teacher was fine with that, he brought the book but no way in hell would he walk in the single file line and hold the other kids hands!!!!

At circle time he sat on my lap (only way he would stay there) and after about five minutes, he was answering questions about the weather, the date, etc. His teacher called him up to put something on the board, and he did it!!! I was pleased.

Then we transitioned to the next and final room (lots of movement, I know it is normal for the transitions to be difficult for the kids initially). Pete took the childrens' hands and went in the line to the next room!! Without me Smile!!

He sat at the big table with all the children and ate his snack. He even laughed and joked a bit with the two boys beside him. We then had almost an hour in this big "playroom" all of which he did great. I sat at the back the whole time talking to another mom. He played very well, moved around nicely, painted, coloured, did play dough, etc. He wasn't huge on playing with others but I guess none of them really seemed to be - they just met!!

The teachers commented that they were pleased overall - I told them when I enrolled him how serious his separation anxiety was. The kicker was on the way out, "Janet", one of his teachers, said "so next Tuesday you'll be coming on your own and you can play with me without mommy".
He freaking lost his mind.

I hadn't told him yet!!!! I couldn't bear the stress and anxiety that would ensue from me telling him I was leaving. I am pretty sure he realizes I would be leaving at some point (he is a very bright child), but that really threw him for a loop. He turned all red, grabbed my arm and started crying. She felt so bad, she kept apologizing. I didn't mind, I obviously was going to mention it soon. He calmed down soon enough and was ok by the time we got to the van. I guess I'll keep mentioning it here and there until next Tuesday.

So it wasn't that bad but obviously I wanted one of those kids that was perfectly adjusted, who just jumped right in and didn't care if their mom was there or not!!! We'll see what happens next week - Thursday is my volunteer day so I'll be there anyway and they've already asked me not to go far in case I need to come back on Tuesday. They are open to being very flexible and gentle with him - so if I need to stay for a couple weeks I can, then slowly slip out a little bit here and there and see how he does without me. I don't know if this approach will even work for Peter, but am willing to work together with the teachers to make this successful.

One big positive (and thus slight brag) is that they said Pete was way ahead of his age with his imaginative play and they were stunned with the creativeness of some of the playing he was doing.

So there you go . . . more to come next week for sure!!!


Donna M said...

Congrats to Pete! Going to pre-school like a big boy!
How did David handle it?
Good luck with Tuesday!

Landerson said...

Glad to hear you all survived! Good luck next week:)

Anonymous said...

Good luck next week!

Liz said...

WOW preschool!!! I am sure Ean would love it, but he panics too. Not as bad as Pete though. Good Luck next week! Keep us updated!

Anonymous said...

Good to hear Shannon. Good luck this week.

lexa said...

My two couldn't have cared less if I was there or not, especially the oldest one! It's good, but it also made me feel kinda bad cuz they didn't "need" me. Hope it went well the next time!

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