Preparing for Montessori School

The first day of school is bound to incite just as much anxiety and excitement in parents as it does in children. For children it may be their first time being cared for outside the home and the uncertainty of doing something and going somewhere they have never been before is overwhelming. Most children take to their new environment with ease and indeed some parents will be disappointed to see their child run through the classroom door without a backwards glance. For others the transition is a little more difficult and separation anxiety can be traumatic for both the parents and child. Here are some tips to make the process a little easier!


Introduce your child to their new school in advance

As part of Drumnigh’s admittance policy, we encourage all incoming children to visit the school and spend some time in a ‘normalised’ classroom ahead of the new school year. A ‘normalised’ classroom describes a Montessori classroom once the children are settled and familiar with the Montessori way of life. The children are happy and contented and it is a great time to observe the school. Many children will be delighted about their first day of school but have a little wobble when they encounter a child that appears to be very upset. Introducing your child to a happy classroom will give them a fantastic first experience of their new school. We find that the children only tend to get upset once it is time to leave!


The morning routine

Getting children to and from school can be extremely stressful. Cramming breakfast, getting dressed, washing teeth, bag packing and multiple drop offs into a short amount of time can be enough to get anyone worked up. Your stress will only feed your child’s anxiety so be prepared! Encourage your child to pack their bag and choose their clothes the night before. Prepare their lunch in advance and get up a little earlier in those first few weeks so that your mornings are not rushed and you have time to connect with your child before school.


The drop-off.


Be sure to arrive at least 5 minutes before school starts to help your child hang up their coat and take in their surroundings. It is very importance for a child’s sense of wellbeing that they arrive on time and start the day the same way as the other children. In Drumnigh the children are greeted individually by the Directresses with a ‘Dia Dhuit’ and a handshake. Develop a special goodbye routine with your child. It can be a simple kiss and hug or a or ‘special’ handshake or phrase. This gives your child a great start to the day and they will feel reassured.

Trust the Directresses


The truth is that some children take a little longer to settle than others and sometimes a child is fine the first few days and then suddenly decides they’ve done the school thing and they have had enough. It is not uncommon for a child to take a number of weeks to settle in. All of this is normal and something that our Directresses have decades of experience in. Take the Directresses’ lead on the handover and oftentimes that means saying goodbye to your crying child and leaving. After years of experience all our Directresses agree that parents hovering at the door can prolong the child’s upset and that generally the children calm down quickly once the parent is out of sight. We also know that all children are different and we encourage you to talk openly with your child’s Directress and develop a drop-off ritual together if you are finding it difficult.


Pick up time!

We cannot stress enough, the importance of being on time to collect your child, particularly when your child is anxious about the drop-off. The children begin to anticipate meeting their parent or caregiver as soon as preparations begin within the classroom for going home time. Being consistently late for pick-up will undermine your child’s trust in you and exacerbate any anxiety they might have about school.

If your child had a difficult time at drop-off that morning, acknowledge their experience and tell them how proud you are that they coped well in school. Your child’s Directress will indicate what kind of day they have had and this gives you an opportunity to reinforce the positive aspects of their day. If you are constantly focusing on your child’s positive experiences they will soon find that their new school is a fun and happy place, and their feelings of anxiety will decrease over time.


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