Home > Children, Community, Education, Elementary Education, Parenting, Routines, School > Welcome to the New School Year!

Welcome to the New School Year!

first day of schoolToday, we welcomed nine new students to Evergreen.  Some were two years old, three, four and older.  First thing in the morning, I could see a wee bit of excitement and a boat load of apprehension in each one’s eyes.  Imagine being dropped into an unfamiliar environment filled with strangers.  Grownups call it ‘culture shock.’ We expect so much from our children!  On the outside, they put up brave faces.  Inside, they were asking: Where am I? What do I do here? How long will I be here?  Will it be safe? Will I be loved?

And then, suddenly, there is a kindly teacher and a warm face. There is something interesting to do.  A picture to paint.  A tower to build. A friend to talk to. It is such a joy to see anxious students’ faces unclench.  And then the first smile.

For parents, the first day of school can be just as nerve wracking.  Our babies depend on us for everything: food, shelter and love.  We are biologically programed to protect our children. Should we override these instincts?  Do we want our children in a place that is working to make them independent from us?  Our brains tell us that we need to help our children grow into confident, independent, self-assured and capable beings.  Our hearts tell us to hold them safe (until college, at least).  Letting go is the hardest part of parenting. I know from experience– ask my son.

The transition to a new school can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks.  Different children react differently to new environments.  Changes in routine are not easy and we do not expect children to adapt right away.  It is a process that takes time, patience and love.  It is important to establish consistency and predictability in classrooms. Consistently   gentle and kind teachers. Consistently welcoming friends. Trust is won through actions.

The start of school can be both the most stressful and the most joyful time of the year. We love introducing our students to new experiences, new ideas and new friends.  And together, we will have a great year.

Enjoy your year in school, too!

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