My daycare provider asked me to bring Baby L in everyday two weeks before I would officially leave her. The first day I sat and watched the program. The second day she sent me on a walk around the block, leaving Baby L behind. The third day she sent me twice around the block. The fourth day she sent me to Starbucks. She's very slowly getting me prepared to leave her, and slowly getting Baby L use to her daycare.
When we went on Monday I could watch Baby L visibly relax there. She was giggly and happy in everyone's arms. A huge wave of relief flooded over me- I might actually be able to leave her after all. (Still wishing I could just take her to work with me...)
The daycare provider has been so adamant about the importance of a slow transition. By the time I drop Baby L off the first day she wants her extremely comfortable with the other children, the care givers and the environment. She wants to make sure I am comfortable because that will send a message to my baby.
Obviously this is above and beyond what we can do in school for our kinders, but I think some of the principals behind it are the same.
We can make sure the parents feel comfortable with us because that their children will pick up on any anxieties they have.
We can try to introduce the environment to children with their parents beside them to help them feel safe. If their initial experience is safe and warm with their parent they are more likely to associate positive feelings and trust with the new environment. And obviously, when they feel safe and secure they are more likely to be open for learning.
It's hard to fully prepare our kinders for school, especially those who have never been away from their parents for this long. There is obviously a lot out of our hands- the parents have to bring them to open house and orientation for us to get a chance to try to make them comfortable. But we have control of how we set up those experienced, the patience we have with parents, and how we interact to send a message of security in the new environment.