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!