By Terry Rogers
Sending your child to school for the very first time is exciting and Evelyn I. Morris Early Childhood Center looks forward to Kindergarten orientation, scheduled for August 31, where students are able to attend the first day with their parents. Jennifer Hallman, Principal a Morris, says that the first day orientation gives parents and children a chance to learn together what a school day will look like, meet all of the staff, participate in some of the daily routines and ensure the smoothest transition possible.
“We are hopeful that this opportunity allows students to ease into school for the first time with the support of their parents by their side,” Ms. Hallman said. “We want all the students to be excited to come to school and learn every day. It is our hope that after participating in the orientation on the 31st, the children won’t be able to wait to come back on the 5th and our families will feel a sense of ease about sending their children off to school each day.”
Dr. Bridget Amory, Director of Elementary Education at Milford School District, agrees with Ms. Hallman, advising parents to make the most of this important milestone. The district is committed to keeping a focus on “Kids First!” and one way to do that is to ensure that families feel a sense of confidence and partnership between their child’s first learning environment, their home and their school. Dr. Amory said the district is very grateful that they have the opportunity to share in the many joys that come with growing and learning together.
“We encourage parents, who are aware that their child may struggle with separation, to put their child on the school bus,” Ms. Hallman said. “Once the children get on the bus and connect with their peers in a social environment, they often forget all about their anxiety. If you choose to drop your child off at school daily, it makes that ‘goodbye’ a bit harder for children who are already nervous.” Ms. Hallman said that it also helps when the primary discussion about school is focused on all of the fun and exciting things the child will do and learn, as well as all the new friends they will make. She said that the best way to handle separation anxiety is to reassure the child that you will see them soon and you can’t wait to hear all about what they learned at school.
Ms. Hallman explained that the longer the transition and the more discussion about it, the harder it can be for both the child and the parents. She said that sometimes quick separations are easier. At Morris, there are always staff available to help children move past the anxiety almost immediately after the parent or guardian leaves. Ms. Hallman also wants parents to know that if their child experiences a more significant transition issue than most, the school is equipped to work collaboratively with families to develop a plan to support not only the child, but also the family.
“We always suggest that parents connect with other families whose children are going to Kindergarten, perhaps by reaching out to those in the same classroom,” Ms. Hallman said. “Joining parent organizations such as the Parent Teacher Partnership (PTP) also allows for the opportunity to network with other parents who may be experiencing the same adjustments. Another way to stay connected is to become a volunteer in our child’s school.”
As for supplies, Ms. Hallman recommends that students come to school the first day with a book bag large enough to hold a folder, glue sticks and crayons. Dr. Amory also said that the best thing for a child to come to school with on the first day is a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. In addition, teachers often need tissues, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. For crafts, teachers need odd items like toilet paper tubes or cereal boxes. Clipped box tops are collected to help the schools raise additional funds. Morris teachers send an individual supply list home with their Kindergarten welcome letter that was mailed to families. Any parent who has not received a supply list should contact their child’s school.
“Milford School District would like to thank our families for sharing their children with us each day, Dr. Amory said. “We take our responsibility of educating our students seriously and are looking forward to positive year working collaboratively with our community. If there are any families in our community who are in need of assistance with any back to school items, they can contact our office at 302-422-1600.”
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