Sunday, September 25, 2011

First day of Pre-K

Well, in the midst of the marathon fundraiser, the youngest member of the Appleton family experienced a very important "first." Our Anya Rashi began Pre-K, under the expert care of Mrs. R and Mrs. E, who also taught Aaron and Nathan.

She was very excited, and I was very nervous. Typically, Anya Rashi has not done well with new "group" experiences. Sunday school was a complete no-go for a long time, and we didn't push it. Many children who have been in an orphanage or institutional setting have trouble with group experiences, so we were in no hurry.

When she was 2 1/2, we decided to try again, and I volunteered all summer in her class, which helped a lot. Eventually, we found that she liked a particular teenaged helper, Miss Michaela, and then she was just fine. When she had to change rooms after her 3rd birthday, we went with what worked, and found a new teenaged helper to take Anya Rashi under her wing. Another thing that helped her was "helping" one of the teachers at the check-in/roll call table. Now, Miss Elizabeth is her special friend in the 4's class, and she goes with a smile on her face.

Wish I could say the same for Pre-K! After being very excited before arriving, she became clingy and tearful at the door. I thought it was just first-day jitters, and wasn't too upset. But now she's been there for 2 weeks, Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, and last Friday was the hardest drop off yet. One day, she ran and got a photo of me and Peter to keep in her backpack so she wouldn't miss us . . . but it didn't seem to help. There has been one day where she had no tears -- she was SO excited to tell her teachers about Daddy's marathon -- but all the other days have been teary. Once she's inside the room, she calms down pretty quickly (within one minute -- I am watching behind the one-way window!), except for last Friday. She was sobbing and it took her 5 minutes to settle in.

We will see how this week goes -- I hate seeing her upset, but I know we have to get ready for Kindergarten next year (not to mention the new sister in the mix!). I am hoping and praying that it becomes a fun, happy place for her soon. I think I will tell her teachers about Sunday school, and if they will let her be their "helper" right away in the morning, like she did at Sunday school.

Does anyone have any tips for making this easier for her? I'd love to hear them!


Julie & Patrick said...

The first thing they do at Devi's preschool is wash their hands. So for a time, Devi helped hold the pump soap for everyone. It was a responsibility that was hers and was required immediately after entering her class room. Worked like a charm.
We also talked to her about how it was okay NOT to get upset. I think she saw a couple others do it and thought it was expected or showed that she loved us alot if she got upset when we were to leave. Weird , I know.


Emily said...

This is such a helpful post Nancy! I appreciate your tips on what has worked for Anya Rashi. I can relate to that lump in the chest upon leaving a crying child. From what my social worker tells me, what is most important is that we come back :) When I must leave Asha, I remind her that mommy always comes back. I'm not sure if this helps her, but it's the message I want to convey. Keep us posted on how Anya Rashi continues to do! Emily

Melanie said...

Oh Nancy, that is so hard! My son, although not adopted, has had hard times separating. One thing that worked for him last year was when I gave him a pocket cross to carry in his pocket. I told him that even though I couldn't be with him, God was with him always and when he needed that comfort he could reach into his pocket and feel the cross.
He started Kindergarten this year. I was nervous, expecting the same difficult separation, but he has been doing wonderfully. Yay!
Anya Rashi will get there!

Fenwick 5 said...

Nancy,What I did for Maiya... I thought for the the first week I would only let her stay from like 9:00 to 11:30,so we did that. Then the second week she stayed for nap time,I couldn't believe it. She did cry on the first day then after that,when she sees her school or when we are pulling in,she gets SO SO excited. She is all smiles from when she walks in till I come get her. They say she walks around smiling all day. This is a true blessing for Maiya and I both. Maybe try letting her stay for half of the time,until she feels more comfortable.Adyn went last year where Maiya is now,and I think that has made the difference. She has seen Adyn go there and he came out happy for a whole year before it was her turn. I really don't think there is anything you can do but what you are doing,reasuring,loving her,talking about her fun day and with what she has learned.:) NOTE: What Emily said is so true,every since Maiya has started the church sunday school nursery,I would always say and still do,Mama will be back ..and have a fun day with a hug!! When I go to get her,she is running to the door smiling saying mama with arms out,it feels so good.Amy Simeons mom is who I talked with before putting Maiya in and she also reassured me that 2 days is not too much for Maiya,plus I prayed time and time over before we took the little step into school for Maiya. So glad that I waited on me to start!!
Take Care and so hoping you get good news soon!! Gidget

Mommy Missionary said...

Our 1st grader did that at preschool. However she didn't just get sad and teary, she got angry and threw stuff around. Lovely! I kind of wondered if I should even push it but she did settle into a routine. Her teacher was very patient. She finally told us she felt scared and alone. When we talked about that and told her God is always with her it seemed to get better. I'll be praying for your adjustment!