You signed me up for WHAT?
The kindergarten admissions process requires a playdate for applicants because all educators know that observing a child navigate a morning full of activities with other children is a great way to gauge "school readiness."
But let's face it, dropping off a young child, to a new place with a room full of unknown adults is a BIG DEAL. We are perfect strangers to these precious little people and with all of the precautions parents take today — from car seats to child-proofing kitchen cabinets — I imagine the children think it pretty odd when we say, "Go with these random people," and by the way, "Have fun!"
We get how strange that is. Every year we see it all: the hesitant, but cooperative pleasers that inch our way, the adventure-driven thrill-seekers that volunteer to be the line leader, the teary ones that will take our hand but have to bite their lip to fight back the tears, and the go-for-broke, throw it all out there, flameout that is going to torture the poor parent they left behind.
Each reaction is normal. And we are prepared! For the children who are not so sure about us, be proud. They are committed to you 100%. And, we are committed to them 100%.
So what is the best way to handle dropping off your child for a practice kindergarten day? Start with the basics. Early to bed and early to rise is a good beginning. Have breakfast and don't rush. Prepare them — not with quizzing games and flashcards — but with what will happen. Just tell them what to expect:
"You will play some games and do some activities with teachers and other children."
"If you feel nervous, it is okay, but I will be waiting for you when you are done."
"You can do this and you will probably have fun. Charlotte Latin is a fun place with really nice teachers who love children."
They might cry. They might get loud. They might even spread out on the floor like a sand dollar. And they might not. Whether they join our group with ease or with hesitation, we will make sure they feel safe, known, and special. Just like our students.
So, our promise to you is this: if you trust us to help soothe your child at drop-off, they will follow your lead. You don't have to throw them into our arms and run, but letting us ease them into the day usually is all you need to do to give them the confidence to go. And the smile you get when they return won't be just because we had a super-fun, play-filled morning. It will be because they are proud and have shown everyone, especially themselves, they are ready for big school.