It allows the student a chance to become familiar with the classroom while Mom or Dad is nearby. She can meet some of her classmates – in our school we have four or five come at once – and not be overwhelmed by a huge crowd. When she walks through the door on the first day of school, she will already know what to expect in the classroom, including where her cubby is, where favorite toys are kept, and who are teachers are.
For the students’ parents, there is often anxiety, especially if it’s the first time the child is going to school on her own. The parents can meet some of the other children and their parents, see the environment where there child will be each day, and have an opportunity to ask any questions of the teachers. Filling the teacher in on where the child in on potty training, explain the child’s temperament, and providing warnings of any food allergies, make the transition that much smoother.
The teachers enjoy this time because they get a sense of the make-up of the class. If a child has trouble focusing, the teacher will know to put her close by to keep her engaged. If a child is afraid of the sound of the toilet flushing, the teacher can warn her when a child is about to use the potty.
We have a few rules that we can discuss with the parents right up front. For example, we ask our parents to try hard to be on time for the child’s sake. For the first 10 minutes of class, the students put their things away and then have time to chat with one another. They love sharing with each other, and when a child walks in late, if we have already started our circle time, she will miss out on the “coffee klatch.” We also ask the parents to leave their child at the door rather than walking into the classroom. Even if the kid is screaming and holding on for dear life, it is important that we peel her off her mom and bring her into the classroom. It is more difficult for a child to transition if Mom comes into the room, and it makes it even harder for the other kids whose parents do not come in when they see another parent.
Have a wonderful school year!