I remember talking to the admissions officer at Ari’s school for the first time. I was sick and tired of talking to schools and feeling like they don’t give a damn about attachment, building trust, or the fact that kids are different and some need more time than others to feel comfortable in the classroom without their parents. So, when Laura, the admissions officer said that the school has a ‘phase in’ program because they feel it is very important that the child, the parents and the teachers build a sense of trust… I almost wanted to cry! This sounds dramatic, I know. You have no idea how many schools I called. The best I got was something like this “Well, if you really want to stay, you can stay for 15 minutes the first day. But, it’s usually better to leave and not look back.” Yeah, right. That’s just like the extreme cry it out method, worse, actually. My child has never been to daycare. Since the day she was born, she was either with her dad, her maternal grandmother, or myself. She happens to be a bit shy and cautious around new people. Most importantly, I am a strong believer in attachment, in doing everything in my power to have my child be in an environment where she feels safe and trusts the adults around her. So, no, there was simply no way in hell that I was going to drop her off and leave her in a room full of strangers, people neither her or I knew. See why I say Laura from Montessori admissions more than made my day?! Furthermore, at an event for new parents, the Head of School encouraged parents to feel free to call and ask how their children are doing. I did this a few times and the people in the office would either go look at Ari or put me through to one of her teachers.
So, the phase-in schedule/week one:
In May, Geeky Entrepreneur, Ari and I went to several events where Laura introduced the new kids and parents to the classroom, the playground, etc.
Monday, 9/13, Geeky Entrepreneur, Ari and I went to school for her first day. GE and I sat in the classroom for about half an hour. Amor Chiquito participated in circle time and all the other activities. She would look at us and periodically run to us, spend three seconds with us, and go back to what she was doing. Once we noticed she felt completely at ease, we let her know we were leaving and we would come back later. This was a three-hour day.
Tuesday, 9/14, was a four-hour day. We walked in the classroom with her. We said good bye. We hung around outside for five minutes to make sure she felt comfortable. We were later told that Ari was quiet for the first few hours, but that, eventually, she was constantly telling stories! That kid so takes after her dad!
Wednesday, 9/15, was Ari’s first full day. This is when things got sad. This was the first day when Ari would be ‘napping.’ I was told that “rest time was very sad for her.” One of the teachers explained the order of events to her: lunch, rest time, play time, time outside, then mommy and daddy come. This teacher held her, talked her through it, validated her feelings, reassured her that mommy was coming later, talked about fun things mommy and daddy do with her, talked about her little stuffed animal, etc. Eventually, she was content. When rest time ended, she was happy and engaged as could be.
Thursday, 9/16, Amor Chiquito was sad for only a few minutes. She rested, but did not sleep.
Friday, 9/17, Amor Chiquito lied down without any prompting. I was told the following: “I am sorry to say Arianna did not ask for you today!” This made my day!
Weeks two and three went well. Amor Chiquito comes home happy, tells us lots of stories, is learning lots using many different toys and engaging in age-appropriate educational activities, plays outside, and is not sad at rest time. She won’t sleep, no way in hell, not yet! But she lies down on her own and does not need soothing.
She loves pizza day! They have pizza on Wednesdays.
We have to work on lunch. At first, I was sending water and she was not drinking much. Now I am sending diluted orange juice. She drinks all of it but isn’t really eating much of her food. I always send things I know she likes. I am at a loss for the time being! I don’t know what to send anymore. I have tried white rice, pasta, waffles, bread, crackers, dry cereal, cheese and others. I also always send fruit, usually strawberries or grapes, and a carrot. If you have ideas for school lunches, please share!
The one annoying thing is the cooties she brings home! She got a cold last week and so did I. It was one of the mean ones, not the mild colds I tend to get. The kids wash their hands when they first go in the classroom. I guess we will be either having lots of colds or developing very strong immune systems!
Overall, the three of us are very happy about our choice. I feel very blessed and very grateful that we can afford to have Ari attend this school. I wish I could do something to make schools like this one be more accessible to families.