Kindergartens – including state ones – today choose two fundamentally different approaches when it comes to the entry of new children. The classic is the one where they want the parent to immediately leave the child in the nursery school and to sleep after lunch. According to proponents, most children get used to this approach. The exception is those who have not yet started kindergarten, and it is said that even more sensitive treatment will not help them.
However, there are more and more institutions that want newcomers to attend only for the morning or even just for an hour or two. Some also allow parents to spend some time with their children directly in the classrooms. It’s a response to parents’ demands and a trend previously set by private facilities.
“We don’t let parents into classes, because not everyone wants it, and then the children don’t take it well that some have parents there and others don’t. But it has worked for us that we have the first two weeks of so-called getting used to, when we want the parents to pick up the children in the morning or right after lunch,” says Klára Váchová, a kindergarten teacher from Brno. They are trying to agree on this with the parents already at the preparatory meetings in June, so that they are not taken by surprise. According to the teacher, parents generally accept it without any problems.
Watch out for the second week, it tends to be worse
She also drew attention to the fact that even children who did not have a problem with kindergarten on the first day or who quickly got used to it, may start crying in the second week. “That’s when they realize that it wasn’t just temporary fun, but that they’ll be going to kindergarten forever,” explains the teacher. According to her, it is important that parents do not belittle kindergarten – in the sense of “Why are you making fun of it, you can play there all day long” – or confirm to the child that it is terrible there – for example, by saying “You just have to endure it there”.
It is important to talk about kindergarten and how children perceive it. Just be careful, direct questions like how was the child today don’t really work, it’s better to go around it. You can, for example, start a conversation about which toy he likes a lot in kindergarten – the child may talk.
Maybe he doesn’t like the spread
Zdeněk Altman from the Prague Pedagogical-Psychological Counseling recommends, especially when the child complains about kindergarten not only for the first few days, but for a long time, to talk about it indirectly. For example, by talking over a picture about forest animals going to an imaginary kindergarten – the child can say who all goes there, who likes to go there and who doesn’t and why. “Who is the strongest and weakest there? Who is the saddest there?” the psychologist suggests possible questions.
According to him, parents can play with their children in kindergarten with the help of dolls, toy cars or animals and play out various situations. Children often reveal what bothers them at kindergarten – it may not be so much about missing their parents, but perhaps the fear that they will have to eat bread with a spread that they don’t like. Banal for the parents, for the child it represents a situation they are afraid of because they don’t know how to deal with it.
And what if you want to keep it at home for another year?
In order for the child to successfully manage the start and subsequent attendance at kindergarten, one more thing is essential. The parents themselves must not doubt it, they should have decided in themselves that the child is mature for kindergarten or that the family needs the child to go to it because of the work of one or both parents.
“If you yourself have doubts about kindergarten, think that you would rather leave your little boy or girl at home with grandma this year, somehow you feel that it would be best for you – you just wanted to try it in kindergarten – there is no possible loss to leave kindergarten at next year,” says special pedagogue Kateřina Králová, author of Nevýchovný principů, who is behind the website Nevýchova.cz.
And, according to teachers and psychologists, postponing kindergarten is appropriate even if a month after the start of kindergarten, the child still cries not only in the morning, but also several times during the day, not just for a moment when he needs to fall asleep after lunch and the longing for his parents is greater .